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History shows that FSU’s offense will make strides under Taggart

(Photo: Travis Register, 247Sports)

Florida State’s offense struggled in just about every imaginable area in its first season under coach Willie Taggart, that’s no secret.

The Seminoles were among the worst Power Five programs in points per game (21.9), yards per run (2.79), third-down percentage (28.72%), red-zone percentage, red-zone percentage (78.13%) and sacks allowed per game (3.00). It would’ve been hard to fathom a worst start on that side of the ball.

Some issues adjusting to a drastically different spread scheme under Taggart would’ve been reasonable, but the problems throughout the entire unit were fairly shocking…especially since Taggart, at least partially, built his reputation as an adaptable offensive mind. 

The overall ineptitude of the offense prompted some changes already this offseason. Taggart is turning his offense over to Kendal Briles after offensive coordinator Walt Bell left to become the head coach at UMass, and Briles is expected to have a more overarching role in the installation of the offense and the actual play calling.

Still, Taggart’s philosophies on how to run an offense will trickle throughout a scheme that should closely resemble his Gulf Coast Offense. Taggart will likely still primarily oversee the offensive side of the ball during practice. And if history is any indication, FSU’s offense should make strides in Year 2 under Taggart.

A look back at Taggart’s time at Western Kentucky (2010-12) and USF (2013-16) shows signs of drastic offensive improvement during his tenure. Sure, Western Kentucky and USF are not anywhere close to FSU in terms of prestige and pressure, but looking at Taggart’s past has some value in trying to determine where FSU is going.

Taggart offenses at Western Kentucky



Wins

Increase

Points Per Game

Increase

Yards Per Play

Increase

Yards Per Carry

Increase

Yards Per Pass

Increase

2010

    2

     22.8

     4.81

     4.21

     5.8


2011

    7

     22.9

     4.96

     4.01

     6.7


2012

    7

     28.2

     5.99

    4.68

     8


250%

23.60%

24.50%

9.50%

37.90%

 

Taggart offenses at USF



Wins

Increase

Points Per Game

Increase

Yards Per Play

Increase

Yards Per Carry

Increase

Yards Per Pass

Increase

2013

   2

    13.8

     4.3

     3

      5.5


2014

   4

     17.2

     4.94

     3.44

      6.5


2015

   8

     33.6

     6.43

     5.41

      8.4


2016

   10

     43.8

     7.17

     6.51

      8.2


400%

217.30%

66.70%

117.00%

49.00%

Two encouraging trends emerge…

First, the offensive production of Taggart teams goes up exponentially from Year 1 to his final season at each program. Wins are up, but so is scoring and overall offensive efficiency on the ground and through the air. Sure, the shift to the GCO at USF sparked a drastic turnaround, but Taggart deserves credit for shifting his scheme to one that fit his personnel. Taggart’s offense got significantly better at both stops.

Second, and this applies to the 2019 season, Taggart’s offenses are better in Year 2. Immediate growth in scoring and efficiency are evident at both Western Kentucky and USF…although the bigger jump happens in Year 3. Is a drastic turnaround expected in one year? No. But there’s evidence that things will get better.

While FSU’s poor offensive production from 2018 should not be excused nor forgotten, there’s at least some history that suggests  quantifiable growth should be expected next season.

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