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FSU coach Willie Taggart vows to address cultural issues, teach Seminoles how to handle adversity

During Florida State coach Willie Taggart’s first day, he said he immediately identified cultural issues plaguing the Seminoles following the bumpy exit of former coach Jimbo Fisher and vowed to resolve them.

As the Seminoles were preparing to face No. 2 Clemson last week, Taggart praised Clemson coach Dabo Swinney for establishing the positive culture and standard of winning he wants to match at FSU.

“Dabo has done a great job of building a culture of how he wanted it and you can see it,” Taggart said. “You go visit the program, you see it by everybody in there. Everybody involved in it. Everything they do is towards winning. It’s paying off for them.”

The Seminoles’ historic 59-10 loss to Clemson Saturday offered a stark contrast between the two programs, highlighting the cultural issues Taggart continues to battle. Some players reverted back to bad habits, getting frustrated and either fighting among themselves or plain giving up.

“Whenever you’re out there on the football field, if you’re not competing, then you’re in the wrong spot and you shouldn’t be competing at a high level,” Taggart said Monday. “That’s every individual. We didn’t get that out of a handful of guys.

“It only takes a handful [of guys] that can mess up the whole thing that’s going on. We’ve got to address those things and make sure those things don’t continue to happen with this football team, as part of the change of the culture.”

Taggart continues to emphasize the importance of learning how to properly cope with setbacks in order to achieve the team’s goals.

“Adversity introduces a man to himself and our guys [have] got to understand that,” Taggart said. “We’ve got to attack it. Don’t run from it.”

Player discipline

Wide Receiver Nyqwan Murray and linebacker Zaquandre White will not play in the first half of the NC State game after being ejected for throwing punches against Clemson.

The Seminoles will play at NC State Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game will air on ABC.

For “a handful of players,” the weight of each Clemson scoring drive and Florida State’s inability to move the football triggered anger.

“We addressed it internally,” Taggart said. “We’re going to make sure that we continue to build a culture and a program the way that we want to, the way that I know how, and we’re going to make sure we have individuals in here that are going to live up to those standards. That’s going to be great teammates who are going to compete and guys that are going to put FSU first. It’s going to always be that way, and we’re not going to make any excuses about it. That’s how it’s going to be, and that’s what we expect out of our guys every time they line up to play.”

Burns honored

FSU defensive end Brian Burns is one of 20 semifinalists nominated for the Bednarik Award.

Every year, the Maxwell Football Club presents the Chuck Bednarik Award to the nation’s top defensive player.

Burns is attempting to become the first Seminole to win the prestigious honor.

The Fort Lauderdale native leads the Atlantic Coast Conference and is tied for fifth nationally with 9.0 sacks. He ranks seventh in FSU history with 23.0 sacks and 10th in tackles for a loss (35.5).

The Bednarik Award winner will be named Dec. 6 during the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

“Brian has been Mr. Consistent for us throughout the season,” Taggart said. “You can see now teams are game-planning around him, and I expect for Brian Burns to continue what he’s been doing for us. He’s been a great leader for us.”

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