The Seminoles have won the last five consecutive games against Florida and will try to make it six Saturday when FSU (5-6) they the No. 13 Gators (8-3) visit Doak Campbell Stadium.
Florida State is riding a wave of positive momentum after a dramatic comeback win over Boston College last week and have a chance to keep their 36-year bowl streak alive.
A different threat
FSU’s defense took a step forward last week, neutralizing Boston College running back AJ Dillon and keeping mistakes in the secondary to a minimum.
Taggart said while the Gators also feature an impressive run game, they pose a unique challenge.
“It’s different style of ball play. Florida’s going to run — you see some of the things we do and they run the quarterback a lot more — but it’s more spread,” he said. “You’re not going to see two or three tight ends a lot in that being your base offense. They’re going to spread it out with 11 personnel, which is three receivers and a tight end. And you’ll see a little bit of 12 personnel with two tight ends, but not as much as you [saw] against Boston College. And you see Florida in the gun and not under center as much.”
Taggart noted part of what made the defense successful against Boston College was remembering its identity.
“We kind of got away from that. I challenged those guys, let’s be fast physical and aggressive in this game and I think we saw that out of our guys,” he said. “Part of it is we were a lot simpler on defense and allowed those guys to do that.”
This week, 17 FSU seniors will be recognized ahead of their final home game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Taggart said the group knows better than any other how to deal with the ups and downs that go with the game.
“I appreciate them all because they bought into what we asked them to do,” he said. “They didn’t ask for the change, they didn’t ask for any of those things, but they bought into what I’ve asked those guys to do and really helped me and our staff and our underclassmen set the foundation of what we want our football program to be going forward.
“And I commend them for that, I thank them for that and I will be forever in debt to them for them helping us set the foundation for what we want this program to be.”
Bowl game matters
While attendance wasn’t as high as usual last week, Taggart said the energy from the crowd had a positive impact on his players.
He urged fans to come out and support them during the final regular season game despite the noon kickoff time.
Taggart said the Seminoles are still chasing their goals, not just for themselves, but for the fans as well.
“Like I said, after the game, we’re a prideful university. We pride ourselves on winning and you think about the streak, that’s winning,” he said. “We have been winning every year. So it’s very important that we go out and give our fans, our alumni, our former players and coaches that have been here and our current players and coaches everything we can to see that we get this victory and keep it going.”