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Willie Taggart Q&A: Jim Leavitt to Tally, too?

By Matt Baker | Times Staff
Published: December 5, 2017 Updated: December 5, 2017 at 06:34 PM
Then-USF coach Jim Leavitt argues a call with referees against the University of Central Florida during the third quarter of the NCAA college football game at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, September 6, 2008. USF won 31-24. (Times file)

Answering your questions about former USF coach Willie Taggart leaving Oregon to become the next coach at Florida State:

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt was Taggart’s defensive coordinator at Oregon. Is he coming back to the state?

Probably. No announcements about FSU’s staff have been made, but Leavitt is expected to follow Taggart to Tallahassee.

What other assistants should I know?

Outside linebackers coach Raymond Woodie was on Taggart’s staff at USF and would make sense at FSU, too. Co-offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo is a former Bucs assistant.

RELATED: Former USF coach Willie Taggart taking over at FSU

How rare is it for a Power Five coach to voluntarily leave his job after one season?

Taggart is the eighth to do so in the past four decades. The others: Todd Graham (Pitt to Arizona State), Lane Kiffin (Tennessee to USC), Steve Mariucci (Cal to the 49ers), Howard Schnellenberger (resigned from Oklahoma), David McWilliams (Texas Tech to Texas), Sam Wyche (Indiana to the Bengals) and Rod Dowhower (Stanford to Broncos assistant).

RELATED: How Willie Taggart went from the hot seat to hot commodity in one game

Who’s next at Oregon?

Co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal — the former head coach at Florida International — is the interim coach and could be a long-term candidate. Other noteworthy options include former Gators coach Jim McElwain and Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford (a former Bucs assistant). The most interesting name is former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. It was his firing that led Jimbo Fisher to leave FSU for the Aggies and cleared the way for Taggart’s arrival in Tallahassee.

RELATED: Fennelly: Leave doubt in the dust when it comes to Willie Taggart

With all this turmoil, who’s the longest-tenured coach in the state?

That would be Miami coach Mark Richt. The two-year anniversary of his hire was Monday.