Florida State’s coaching staff collapsed through the finish line on National Signing Day, failing to deliver on critical positions of need.
For two recruiting cycles, Florida State has failed to deliver a high school quarterback prospect to its ranks. While it is debatable as to whether 2018 was excusable, I’m adamant in my belief that 2019 is inexcusable.
Make no mistake, FSU fans: the failure to sign a high school quarterback prospect rests squarely on Willie Taggart (and staff’s) collective shoulders.
I’ve heard the message time-and-again: Blame no one. Make no excuses. Do something.
We’ve all seen the embarrassment that was Florida State football this past 2018 season. Our fanbase, relishing in the spoils of 40 year winning seasons and national championships, was exposed to something none of us have known in (most) of our lifetimes: failure.
Failure to recognize the rotting culture within the program. Failure to adapt to the weaknesses within the team. Failure to rectify early season mistakes and develop the youth for future seasons. Failure to set appropriate expectations within the fanbase for the coming season’s hardships. Failure to swiftly address changes on the staff. Failure to secure immediate needs on the trail for this upcoming season.
To clarify, I do not think Florida State signed a BAD recruiting class (Yeesh Miami!), but it has failed to match the expectations of our program and its fanbase. Perception is reality, as they say. When it is perceived externally that Florida State is a disorganized mess, you fail to secure the confidence of parents for highly touted recruits. This uncertainty in parents will result in the failure to secure commitments from prospects like Legendre, Plumlee, Howell, Cross, and others.
You perpetuate uncertainty within the locker-room. You divide a fanbase, who are already near wits-end based off first year results. Rival programs utilize this perception to perpetuate it even further, compounding upon the issues in place. It is like a wildfire cascading across the landscape, threatening those who fail to quench it. Florida State, in its current position, is ill-equipped to combat the flames. Indeed, the flames threaten to consume this program.
To be fair to Coach Taggart, I don’t believe this is the end for him. This is, after all, the first season at helm in Tallahassee. But he is already on the shit-list for many Seminoles nationwide. The expectations, the legacy, the history of this program demand better. This wildfire will consume his legacy if he fails to produce a viable plan to quench the flames.
Look at Florida. They went 4-7 in 2017 (WORSE than their 4-8 campaign when we won the National Championship). Yes, this means Florida had TWO losing seasons in the span between FSU’s National Championship season to now. Their fanbase, if any, knows the depravity that we now find themselves in. Now, they’re lavishing in the glory of a New Year’s bowl appearance (and victory). Dan Mullen is building a monster in Gainesville. Expectations run high at Florida, yet Dan Mullen is exceeding them to this point (if first season results are any indication).
While I can’t speak for Manny Diaz nor the culture he’s building at the University of Miami, I do believe I can speak for the FSU fan base at large when I say I have my doubts.
Folks, I don’t expect Willie Taggart to go 12-0 this season, let alone compete for the ACC. But with the 2019 schedule and changes made on the staff (and in the locker room) there are no excuses: he should produce nothing less than an 8-4 season. I’ve already covered what I expect out of the 2019 season for the Seminoles, and our fanbase should be optimistic about their chances all things considered. But the Seminole faithful should also maintain their high standards for this program, because Florida State has earned those expectations.
If this means criticizing Willie Taggart and the coaching staff where it is deserved, you as a fan should feel empowered to do so. If this means calling into question the strengths and weaknesses of the current roster, as compared to other opponents they will face this season, do it. Do not feel belittled by those who want to push an outward agenda of positivity for Florida State. While they have every right to do so, don’t hesitate to contradict the bullshit with facts or rational concerns you may hold.
Here’s the truth: the quality of play that Florida State should expect is not being met. That doesn’t solely lie upon Jimbo Fisher and the old coaching regime. That doesn’t rest with just the athletics department, this administration, and booster infrastructure. This is not simply an issue of funding for the Football program. The cancerous locker room is not a simple explanation to our ill fortune in recent years.
If you need an explanation for 2018 and the poor perception of the program, you are perfectly entitled to and encouraged to hold this coaching staff accountable.
This staff expects you to hold them accountable. And so they should!
I know I will. Big 3 Roll Up and FSU fans should know this isn’t the last time I’ll discuss the state of our program either (I’ve got more to say, trust me).
2018 was hype, until reality hit us with 5-7.
Make no excuses. Blame no one. Do something.
2019 is reality, time to #ProveSomething coach!
You can follow Edward on Twitter @EdKennedyV.
(Photo Via: Times/Monica Herndon)