Thursday, November 15, 2018
FSU Seminoles

Willie Taggart can save himself against Syracuse (again) and more state tidbits

Willie Taggart saved his career three years ago against Syracuse.

Perhaps another game against the Orange will salvage his first season at Florida State.

His Seminoles have struggled through a 1-1 start that includes a 21-point blowout loss to Virginia Tech and a game it could have lost to Samford. His offense ranks No. 108 nationally in scoring (19.5 points per game), 92nd in yards per play (5.42) and 101st in yards per rush (3.62).

The situation is different than the one at USF in 2015, when a loss would have dropped his record go 7-22 and probably cost him his job. Taggart retooled his system to display Quinton Flowers' athleticism. The Gulf Coast Offense was born.

There will be tweaks and adjustments this time but no massive overhaul. Taggart doesn't think it's necessary.

"We are close," Taggart said. "We show signs of what we can be on the offensive side of the ball. We just haven't done it consistently enough…"

Local of the week

FSU TE Tre McKitty (Tampa Catholic/IMG Academy)

The Wesley Chapel native has been one of the few bright spots for the Seminoles and caught the go-ahead score last week against Samford. Syracuse can be susceptible to tight ends — the only touchdown it allowed last week came with a tight end's catch — so keep an eye on McKitty in the red zone.

McElwainless Bowl

One way or another, the offenses Jim McElwain promised could be on display when Florida hosts Colorado State. The Rams have a top-10 passing offense (led by Tennessee transfer WR Preston Williams) and will face a UF secondary decimated by injury. QB Feleipe Franks might be able to get on track against a Rams defense allowing the fourth most passing yards per attempt in the nation (10.6).

Lovie vs the Bulls

Illinois coach Lovie Smith will have some weird connections this week. He'll be facing a USF team that played at Raymond James Stadium, where he coached the Bucs for two miserable years. And he'll be doing so at Soldier Field, where he used to coach the Bears. As a head coach, Smith has gone 48-29 at Soldier Field and 48-77 everywhere else.

Most interesting blowout

Remember how Jimbo Fisher bolted Florida State for Texas A&M with one (rescheduled) game left in the Seminoles' season? That game would have been against Louisiana-Monroe. So there's something poetic about Fisher facing Louisiana-Monroe in his third game at A&M. You can't duck the mighty Warhawks forever.

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