He can be salty … he is highly opinionated, he knows his football, as he is the Grizzled Ol’ Coach (GOC) Mike Morris. He is a writer, a coaching consultant to FishDuck.com, a football mentor and personal friend. He is an amazing individual who has this massive curiosity to learn as I do. So when he sends me an email about a coaching candidate, and then after listening on the phone later– I am impressed with the story he was telling me.
This is the candidate that Mike Morris and I endorse to become the next Head Coach at University of Oregon. Charles Fischer
Last Saturday I watched Scott Frost’s Central Florida team play the University of South Florida.
I knew nothing about USF. Then I found out:
–USF had lost only 2 games this year: to Florida State, and a very solid Temple.
–USF was near the top, nationally, in almost every offensive category. They had a great dual-threat QB, Quinton Flowers.
–Their head coach, Willie Taggart, appeared to be very charismatic. (A 40-year old black man)
–USF was very well-coached. They definitely looked much better than Frost’s very well-coached UCF team.
I was very intrigued. At half-time I googled Willie Taggart and was even more — extremely — impressed. At that time I wasn’t interested in potential head coaches for the Ducks. But, as you’ve probably heard, things have changed. As impressed as I was by Willie Taggart, I didn’t know how soon he’d come back into my life.
Imagine my excitement when I found out he was a “strong” candidate for Oregon’s next head coach. Yeah! I’m tellin’ ya, Willie Taggart would be an OUTSTANDING head football coach for the Ducks.
–Florida born and raised. He was a four-year starting QB at Western Kentucky.
–First coaching job: In 2007 Jim Harbaugh hired him as running backs coach on his first staff at Stanford. Taggart helped develop the Stanford power offense led by Toby Gerhart. Taggart still considers himself a disciple of Harbaugh.
After 3 years at Stanford, Taggart was hired by his Alma mater, Western Kentucky, to be their head coach, from 2010-2012.
In 2013 Taggart was hired to be the head coach at USF, which was one of the worst teams in all of college football. His first year they were 2-10 is all, but USF has improved by at least 2 wins in each of Taggart’s next 3 years. The biggest change was in his offensive philosophy going into 2015. No more Stanford stuff; Taggart went out and hired some of the finest spread offense coaches in the country. And they created the, now-dreaded, “Gulf Coast” Offense. (Taggart calls the plays)
A Tampa sportswriter: this “surreal resuscitation” of USF football.
In going 10-2 this year, winning 7 of their last 8, and tying for 1st place in their division, USF was nationally ranked:
- 5th in rushing offense
- 8th in scoring offense at 43.6 points per game!
- 9th in total offense
- 32nd in pass completion percentage
- 39th in yards per completed pass
- 2nd in offensive S&P [a complicated stat I don’t understand, but is considered very important by those in the know]
What really impressed me was Willie Taggart the person. He gets nothing but raves from those who know him. Has a great sense of humor, smile, and strength of character. His athletic director says, “When you first meet him, there’s this ‘presence’ about him . . . so thoughtful and kind.” (Think of Harbaugh’s intensity, but with a very likable personality)
And yet Willie is a very demanding leader, a true perfectionist. In his own words,
“Our players know I won’t tolerate any bullshit. They must know exactly how they must act, on and off the field.”
When USF’s defense gave up 46 points to Temple this year, Taggart was furious.
“I won’t tolerate that level of football from our players.”
They haven’t lost since. Wouldn’t that have been a refreshing response from Helfrich? Isn’t that what FishDuck wanted Mark to do with the Oregon defense?
His players, mostly black kids from Florida, truly love him, as a tough-love father-figure. (The team’s GPA was 2.92) With his charm and strength of character, Taggart would be a wonderful recruiter and role-model for Oregon. A lot of black parents would trust him to properly take care of their sons far from home.
I have no doubt that Willie Taggart will be one of the best head football coaches in the nation in the years to come. Hopefully that success will take place at the University of Oregon.
Mike Morris (Grizzled Ol’ Coach)
Pleasant Hill, Oregon
Top Photo from USF Video
Disclaimer: Readers: Every writer on FishDuck.com is allowed to express their opinion in their articles. However, articles do not represent the views of the other writers, editors, coaching consultants, management, or the principals of FishDuck.com. Charles Fischer