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Florida State Seminoles

The 3-2-1: What comes next for Willie Taggart and FSU Football?

1 — Taggart needs to hit reset, start laying down law

As soon as Florida State’s 2018 season ended with an ugly loss to rival Florida, first-year head coach Willie Taggart said he would begin evaluating every aspect of his program that very night.

It’s a good thing it was a noon game … Taggart was going to need all the time he could get.

When you struggle as much as the Seminoles did this season, every issue becomes magnified. That’s true for the fans and media, who will hyper-focus on every particular area that annoys them, and it’s true for coaches, who have an even better view of what is going wrong.

The challenge in these situations is sifting through the muck and determining what are the biggest problem areas, and in what order do they need to be fixed.

In my opinion — without actually being inside the program, but observing it — Taggart needs to start with himself and consider retooling his coaching staff’s approach with the players.

Whether you still believe in him or not, it’s only fair to recognize that Taggart was dealt a very difficult hand when he took over this program — not just with the talent deficiencies at certain positions, but with the overall culture of the locker room.

And when you step into a situation like that, whether it be as a head football coach or as a manager in a business, you have two primary options: You can go in with a “scorched earth” approach, lay down the law and basically tell everyone involved with the program that it’s your way or the highway. Or you can go in with a softer approach and try to get the players to buy in by showing them support and love, and by trying to build them up emotionally.

It seems pretty clear that Taggart went with the second option, and it’s also pretty clear that it didn’t work.

Instead of appreciating Taggart’s efforts to give them more freedom and ownership of the program — letting them pick music for practice, giving them a bigger say in uniform choices and other team decisions — I think some of them tried to take advantage of advantage of him. I think they saw his kindness and took it for weakness.

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