USF's Taggart live on ESPN: 'I cannot wait'
New USF football coach Willie Taggart, having finished a busy opening week of recruiting, is now making the rounds with radio and TV interviews, including a two-minute phoner on ESPN's "College Football Live" on Tuesday afternoon. Here's what he had to say:
ESPN: What was it about the USF job that made you want to take the job so badly?
Taggart: "Well, I looked at the program, where it was a few years ago, where it went all the way up in the rankings to No. 2. I knew the potential was here, that it could be done, because it was that way before. You look at the fan support, they're just hungry for success, and the recruiting base here, there's no reason for you to go far to get recruits. You can get them here. You look at the facilities, you had everything here. Everything you need. You just have to get to work and get everyone on board."
ESPN: Coach, Florida's your home state. You mentioned the recruiting base. You were a standout at Manatee High School right there in Bradenton. Does the fact that you know the area so well, has that helped you and will that help you recruit immediately?
Taggart: "Yes, it will. And it helped me when I was at Western Kentucky, too. I always recruited down here and built the relationships with the coaches. Some of them knew me when I played, and then we just built relationships over the years. It helped up there at Western, and now coming back and being right here in the backyard, it only can help me even more."
ESPN: One final question: Do you personally have a concern, given the flux that the Big East conference is in right now, both from a basketball and particularly in your case, from a football perspective?
Taggart: "No, I don't. I'm one of those guys that tries to control the things that I can. The only thing I can control is this football team, and the thing we're going to try to do is win ballgames. It doesn't matter what conference you're in, you've got to win ballgames. We're in the Big East now. We're planning on winning ballgames to try to win the Big East. If something does happen with the Big East, I'm sure someone's going to be interested in South Florida.
ESPN: That first game, Aug. 31, Raymond James Stadium against McNeese State. Best of luck, Coach. We'll be keeping an eye on you.
Taggart: "I appreciate it. (voice rising) I cannot wait."