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FSU’s Willie Taggart delivers updates with a coy, upbeat attitude

At the program’s media day, the coach appeared to be in a great mood
Florida State Seminoles coach Willie Taggart often wears a smile, but he seemed particularly upbeat at IMG Academy last week, and on Sunday during the program's media day. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
Florida State Seminoles coach Willie Taggart often wears a smile, but he seemed particularly upbeat at IMG Academy last week, and on Sunday during the program's media day. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Aug. 19, 2019

If Willie Taggart’s demeanor reflects how the Florida State football team will play this season, Seminole fans should be confident.

Taggart answered reporters’ questions with a playful attitude on Sunday during the program’s Media Day. The coy approach isn’t exactly new for Taggart, but it reflects his outlook about rebounding from last year’s 5-7 season.

One of the key questions involves who will start at quarterback: graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook, redshirt sophomore James Blackman or Louisville transfer Jordan Travis. Asked when he would announce who will start in the season opener against Boise State on Aug. 31, Taggart answered wryly.

“Before the Boise State game. Before we play it,” he said with a smile. “I promise you we will have a starting quarterback, and I promise you we will announce it before we play that game.

“When we feel like it’s right and best that we do it, we’ll do it.”

Taggart again flashed a grin when asked which true freshmen will contribute. He hesitated, saying if he didn’t name every freshmen capable of playing, he would get in trouble. Then he proceeded to list a dozen players, including linebacker Kevin Glenn and offensive lineman Ira Henry.

“I named a few for you,” Taggart quipped. “Fellas, if I didn’t name you, I still love you and I’m going to get you, I promise.”

Two established players also garnered inquiries. Both defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and receiver Tamorrion Terry have nursed knee injuries this preseason, but Taggart has repeatedly said they will be ready for Boise State. Asked again on Sunday, he smiled and said, “You don’t believe me, do you?”

After a bit of laughter, the reporter said he believed but fans were still asking.

“Those guys will be ready,” Taggart said. “We’re getting there. I think you’ll probably see a little more out of both of them this upcoming week. They both are rehabbing really well.”

Perhaps Taggart’s enthusiasm rises not only from the normal optimism of preseason, but his belief this is a new team and with some coaching staff changes and adjustments, perhaps a new program. That’s certainly what he’s selling.

"I like where our football team is, I like where our staff is, and we’ve got two more weeks, and we’ll continue to get better.

“I’m going to be excited to see our guys go out and compete and show you all what the new 2019 FSU football team is. Can’t wait.”


  1. The crowds in recent years at Florida State football games haven't been as robust as in the past. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  2. FILE - In this June 9, 2012, file photo, Maria Sharapova of Russia holds the trophy after winning the women's final match against Sara Errani of Italy at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris. Sharapova is retiring from professional tennis at the age of 32 after five Grand Slam titles and time ranked No. 1. She has been dealing with shoulder problems for years. In an essay written for Vanity Fair and Vogue about her decision to walk away from the sport, posted online Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, Sharapova asks: “How do you leave behind the only life you’ve ever known?” [BERNAT ARMANGUE  |  AP]
  3. Florida State running back Cam Akers (3) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter of last season's home opener against Boise State. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
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  8. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to drive past Pittsburgh guard Xavier Johnson during their game Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
  9. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times) [Times]
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Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) catches the ball near the end zone in the third quarter in a game against LSU at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Saturday, October 6, 2018.  [Times]
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  12. Florida State quarterback James Blackman (1) throws during the first half of the 2019 season opener against Boise State in Tallahassee. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]