FSU Head Coach Rumors: Conflicting Reports Surround Oregon's Willie Taggart

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2017

Oregon head coach Willie Taggart gives feedback from the sidelines against Oregon State in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
Thomas Boyd/Associated Press

Willie Taggart reportedly may be on the move for the second year in a row, with conflicting reports surrounding the Oregon head coach and the Florida State vacancy.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports wrote Taggart is not finalizing a contract with the Seminoles after Graham Hall of the Gainesville Sun reported the two sides were closing a deal. Hall added Taggart was "looking" to bring defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt with him. 

Tomahawk Nation reported earlier Monday that Taggart planed to meet with Florida State officials Monday to discuss its head coaching vacancy. Edward Aschoff of ESPN confirmed that report, citing a "source close to the situation."

John Canzano of the Oregonian later reported Taggart informed Oregon of his intention to meet with Florida State on Monday.

The Ducks coach went 7-5 during his first season in Eugene, but he has ties to Florida after four successful years at South Florida.

Taggart has twice deflected reporters' questions about the Florida State vacancy.

The Seminoles are looking to replace Jimbo Fisher, who left for Texas A&M after being offered a record 10-year, $75 million contract. Fisher went 83-23 in eight seasons with the program after replacing the legendary Bobby Bowden. The team won the 2013 national championship and won at least 10 games six times.

Ranked third in the preseason, Florida State went 5-6 under Fisher in 2017, due in large part to an injury to quarterback Deondre Francois. 

Oregon's football program has been on a steady decline since the departure of Chip Kelly in 2012. Mark Helfrich kept things afloat with the remnants of Kelly's core in 2013 and 2014, but the team has fallen out of national contention since. With high-powered boosters like Phil Knight providing funds for state-of-the-art facilities that rank among the nation's best, Oregon's downturn has been frustrating.

The Ducks saw some of their offensive firepower return under Taggart, averaging 36.7 points per game and ranking eighth in the country in rushing. At 7-5, they have won three of their last four games heading into the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16 against 25th-ranked Boise State.