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Reports: Jim Leavitt to reunite with Willie Taggart at FSU

The former USF coach is joining the Seminoles staff as a defensive analyst.
Former USF coach Jim Leavitt, seen here during his days as Colorado defensive coordinator, is headed back to Florida. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Former USF coach Jim Leavitt, seen here during his days as Colorado defensive coordinator, is headed back to Florida. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)
Published Sep. 12
Updated Sep. 12

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt, who served as Willie Taggart’s defensive coordinator in his lone season at Oregon, reportedly will join Taggart’s Florida State staff as a quality control analyst.

Leavitt, 62, will assist Seminoles defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett with game-planning, which was first reported Wednesday by The Athletic, then other media outlets.

Leavitt left Colorado after two highly successful seasons as its defensive coordinator to join Taggart’s staff in Eugene in December 2016. The Ducks, who allowed 41.4 points a game the season before Leavitt’s arrival, surrendered an average of 29 points in 2017.

Leavitt remained in Eugene when Mario Cristobal was picked to replace Taggart after the season and watched his 2018 unit allow only 25.4 points a game. Leavitt and the school mutually agreed to part ways after that season, with the former USF head coach (1997-2009) reportedly getting a maximum $2.5 million payment as part of the agreement.

In Tallahassee, he’s expected to help Barnett gradually transition from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 scheme featuring hybrid linebackers. FSU enters Saturday’s game at Virginia ranked 124th in Division I-A in total defense (520 yards per game).

In their first two games, the Seminoles have allowed 26 points in the first half and 27 in the fourth quarter.


Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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