The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Five Realistic Goals for Taggart in Year One

Colin Abbey/FSU athletics

There’s an excitement in the air in Tallahassee as the annual Florida State spring game is just more than one month away. The reason for the excitement is new head coach Willie Taggart and a young, energetic staff.

Taggart will be replacing Jimbo Fisher, who left to take a job at Texas A&M prior to the end of last season. Fisher accomplished a lot during his nearly eight years as head coach and there is reason to believe Taggart can too.

As spring gets into full swing, here are five realistic goals for Taggart in his first season with the Seminoles:

1. Finish in the Top 25
Florida State failed to find itself in the final polls last season for the first time since 2009. Despite going just 7-6 a season ago, the 2018 season has a chance to be a special one for FSU. As frustrating as last season may have been for FSU, it still has one of the most talented rosters in the country.

2. Win 10 Games
As bad as 2017 was for Florida State, the Seminoles had a number of close losses, falling to N.C. State by six and Miami and Louisville in the final seconds. With the talent returning, it’s far from inconceivable that FSU could improve by three wins. That was the uptick for Oregon a season ago with Taggart at that helm and that includes the fact that he was without his starting quarterback for about half the season. A 10-2 or 9-3 finish with a bowl win is completely within the realm of possibility in 2018.

3. Finish in the Top 25 Nationally in Both Offense and Defense
Florida State has plenty of talent on each side of the football and that should be reflected in the statistical categories this season. Despite defensive coordinator Charles Kelly not being the most popular guy in Tallahassee, FSU ranked 18th in total defense last season. The offense was a mess for the most part, but FSU returns its leading passer, rusher and receiver as well as four starters along the offensive line. FSU’s 2018 opponents are also losing a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball.

4. Reclaim the State
Despite a dismal finish last season, Florida State still managed to win a school-record fifth straight time against rival Florida. For the first time in eight years, FSU fell to Miami, 24-20. Even in that case however, Miami needed to score with six seconds remaining on a long touchdown pass from Malik Rosier to Darrell Langham. This was a Miami team that would enjoy its best season since 2003. The Seminoles will have to travel to face the rival Hurricanes this season, but FSU hasn’t lost to Miami on the road since 2004.

5. Make Doak Campbell Stadium a Vaunted Place to Play Again
Florida State has had plenty of notable winning and unbeaten home streaks throughout its history. From 2013-15, the Seminoles didn’t lose a single time at Doak Campbell Stadium. Over the last two years however, five of Florida State’s nine losses have come at home. Last season, the Seminoles were just 3-3 at home with the only wins coming over Louisiana-Monroe, Delaware State and Syracuse. The Orange were the only Power 5 team to fall to FSU in Tallahassee and that was thanks to a missed field goal as time expired. In his first season, Taggart needs to bring the home field advantage back to Tallahassee. That however, won’t be easy as FSU hosts Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida among others.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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