Willie Taggart, FSU facing a more pressing concern than recruiting

Willie Taggart

The bigger question than recruiting right now at FSU is what Willie Taggart’s coaching staff will look like. Seminole fans are on pins and needles after what once seemed like “locks” to join Taggart’s highly-anticipated, super-charged, Florida-strong coaching staff from Oregon… well, didn’t turn out to be “locks” after all.

As I’ve said before, “coaching searches are fluid.” Were they ever in this case?

Me and my fellow Nole fans thought we were getting a three-headed coaching monster in Taggart, his Oregon offensive coordinator (and former FIU head coach) Mario Cristobal and defensive coordinator (and former USF head coach) Jim Leavitt. Well, Cristobal and Leavitt are staying in Oregon thanks to major bonuses and title upgrades – head coach for Cristobal and a pay bump to $1.7 million for Leavitt. That is high-end money in the SEC for a coordinator, let alone the Pac-12 or FSU.

He ain’t worth that to us.

Oregon trolls were happy with their victories over FSU in keeping these two, taking to Twitter to celebrate; they probably should’ve focused more on their bowl game which they lost to Boise State 38-28.

What happened was this thing I’m calling “The Swaggart Effect.” Every top coaching prospect is calling Taggart wanting to be part of this staff.

It’s leaked out in coaching circles that Florida State has $5.5 million to spend on assistant coaches – that’s a lot. I’m hearing the sum could be more if Taggart asks for it and the coach is worth it. That makes for some good spending.

Let’s look at the coaches who are officially on board in Tallahassee and the ones I know we have contacted with a guess who’ll comprise Taggart’s first FSU coaching staff.


Former FSU Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, who was an analyst this season at Alabama, interviewed for a position on the new Tennessee coaching staff with Jeremy Pruitt. I think he’s waiting to see what happens in Tally before committing to the Vols.

Tino Sunseri, son of former FSU defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri, is currently the offensive quality control coach at FSU with oversight of QBs. He is also under consideration as is Michael Johnson, Oregon’s current wide receivers’ coach who’s also spent a lot of time in the NFL

Running backs

Donte Pimpleton has been hired. He’s 37-years-old and a solid recruiter. He coached Marlon Mack to became USF’s all-time leading rusher and while at USF, the running game set a school record with 77 rushing touchdowns.

He was Oregon’s primary recruiter on FSU’s recent recommitment, Marquez Ezzard.

Wide receivers / co-Offensive Coordinator

Former FSU wide receiver and current Miami WRs coach Ron Dugans, or the above-mentioned Michael Johnson, are the candidates. I think Dugans is the favorite; Dugans was a target of Jimbo Fisher’s had he stayed and my sources tell me he was one of the first folks Taggart wanted when he took the job.

I believe Dugans will be on this staff

Tight ends

Telly Lockette has been hired. The Miami Beach native coached running backs at Oregon State this season.

Offensive line / co-Offensive Coordinator

Greg Frey is the run game coordinator at Michigan with six years at Indiana also under his belt. Frey is a 1996 FSU graduate who was on the staff that helped launch the USF football program.

Defensive line

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