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Willie Taggart not calling plays is the right move

FSU football will be welcoming a new offensive coordinator into the fold this coming season, and they will get the chance to do all the play calling.

At one point, current FSU football head coach Willie Taggart was the primary play caller throughout his head coaching career at Western Kentucky, South Florida and Oregon. He also called the plays during the first nine games this past season.

He seemed to come to the realization during the season that calling plays and trying to run a program like Florida State is incredibly difficult. When Kendal Briles was recently introduced as FSU football’s new offensive coordinator, Taggart said Briles would be the primary play caller. Here is why he made the right decision in turning over that responsibility to Briles.

First, Taggart can now focus on being Florida State’s head coach, meaning that he can do a broader number of things during practices. He won’t have to nitpick just the offense. He can spend time working with the defense, and especially the special teams.

Alonzo Hampton was brought in to coach the special teams, but by all accounts, he didn’t do the job. Taggart may end up bringing someone else in or he may roll up his sleeves and personally work with this dreadful unit to make it better. With his offensive background, he should certainly be able to help implement better punt blocking schemes as the Seminoles were simply awful at the task in 2018.

Most importantly, he needs to work with his assistants to cut down on penalties and turnovers, and that means instilling better discipline. The players may like it, but the days of dancing at practice should be shelved until the team becomes more disciplined. In 2018, FSU football was dead last out of 130 FBS teams with 9.2 penalties per game and 127th in turnover margin. Those two stats fall on the head coach and they must improve.

Giving up play calling allows him to get a more “global” view of what the offense is doing so we can see why plays work or fail, and why penalties are occurring and attempt to correct them by talking to the player on the sideline in the moment.

He can also put more attention into making adjustments during the game, especially a halftime, which seemed to be lacking last season. Lastly, Taggart can do a better job of challenging penalties during games (see the called illegal forward pass versus Miami).

Maybe last season, Taggart just didn’t want to give up play calling or maybe he didn’t trust Walt Bell. Whatever the reason, he should feel comfortable handing the duties over to Kendal Briles. Briles has proven the he can call a great game and put up a ton of points.

In 2015, Baylor ranked first in the country was 46.6 points per game. In 2016, they were 36th with 32.9 points per game. He moved to Florida Atlantic in 2017 and they ranked 7th with 40.2 points per game and this past season at Houston, his offense ranked 7th with 41.8 points per game.

Where was FSU football? 112th at 20.6 points per game. Taggart will certainly work with Briles on his overall offensive philosophy and with schemes and building game plans each week, but he should leave the game calling solely to Briles.

Next: Pros and cons of Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator

After a long courting period, now that Briles is in Tallahassee, he and Taggart have to get to work immediately if they want to create the offense of “lethal simplicity” fans were promised fans when Taggart took over at Florida State last year.

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