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Chomping at Bits: Florida State fires Willie Taggart, Gators know third down woes

The school out west actually pulled the trigger on cutting ties with perhaps its worst coach ever.

Florida State v Wake Forest Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Chomping at Bits comes stocked with the best Florida Gators links and news we can find, and maybe some other stuff. Here’s hoping it will be daily through the rest of football season.

Florida State fires Willie Taggart: After a 27-10 loss to Miami that dropped the Seminoles to 9-12 in his tenure, Taggart was let go on Sunday, with ESPN reporting that the program raised about $20 million in private donations to help cover the substantial buyouts now owed to Taggart and his staff.

I’m probably going to write something longer about this either this week or when FSU week rolls around, but here’s a short list of thoughts I have:

  • Florida State made a necessary move in firing Taggart, who was clearly overmatched by the job and not getting better at it.
  • FSU firing a coach under two years into his tenure for nothing other than on-field performance not meeting program standards sets an incredibly dangerous precedent for college football in general...
  • ...and the combination of Taggart’s status as FSU’s first black head football coach and the impressive speed with which $20 million that apparently couldn’t be mustered to support the program during his tenure was rustled up to hasten his departure may be something that FSU is made to wear as an albatross, even if the predictable Luther Campbell call for a boycott of FSU by all black players and coaches is probably a bit much.
  • Maybe the craziest note in all of this is that Florida State’s budget problems are both the cause of Taggart’s surprisingly sudden firing — FSU, the argument goes, is uniquely unprepared for an extended downturn with lowered attendance and revenue because of its budgetary constraints, so that had to be headed off at the pass — and the reason that there should be no high hopes for Taggart’s successor. If the Seminoles are now spending more than they would have liked to have Taggart not coach, how will they possibly afford a coach better than Taggart, especially when that coach should see his predecessor’s early departure as a great reason to negotiate for every dollar and bit of protection possible?

FSU, I think, is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and is going to need a moon shot to get out of that spot without Aron Ralstoning itself. I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

Florida’s third down struggles doom Gators: As we all well know by now. (Chris Harry, Florida Gators | Thomas Goldkamp, 247Sports)

Florida can look to 2018 for rebound blueprint: The thing to remember is that it’s best to start the rebound immediately, rather than after a one-week pity party. (Scott Carter, Florida Gators)

FSU commits Florida should pursue: I’ll be writing something incorporating this idea later this week. (Blake Alderman, 247Sports — $)

Gators going for unique stadium color scheme vs. Vandy: News flash: Gonna be a lot of silver there! (Will Pantages, Florida Gators)

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