The ONE Negative about Willie Taggart that we’ll Overlook…

Many Oregon fans are so pleased with the recruiting results of Head Coach Willie Taggart that an argument could be made that he was almost heaven-sent perfect for our beloved Ducks. But look, nobody is perfect.

My title is true, and this is not meant to be the beginning of a “Canzano-type” hit article, but simply my observations–with which many might disagree (which is fine).

Let’s start by stating my admiration for what he has done in such a short time, and how I believe he is the perfect coach for us among the many coaches out there at this time. He will take us to recruiting heights never seen at Oregon, and with the expertise on the staff, it gives our beloved Ducks a real chance at getting back to and winning the ‘Natty.

He’s one of us already.

When I watched the video of his introduction at his first press conference, and read the descriptions later about him being so enthusiastic, high energy, and charismatic, I watched for that in future videos. Then I attended the recruiting luncheon in Eugene this last week and listened to/saw him in person. I remain with the same impression I first had.

You see, this “enthusiastic” label did not fit right with the image I saw, and something did not quite seem right. But how could all these other reports be wrong?

Then I remembered to trust my own judgment; that nobody in the Oregon media noticed the new 3-4 defense at Oregon until I wrote about it in summer of 2010….and nobody thought a website of Oregon football analysis and editorials would do as well as has done. Just because nobody has made the upcoming observation doesn’t make it invalid.

C’mon–we all have seen real enthusiastic, passionate public speakers in our lives. Heck, your own FishDuck gives public workshops about Planned Giving to Churches and Charities (I have one coming up in Eugene, and another in Salem). I’ve been told I am a very energetic, passionate, and almost charismatic speaker. I know one when I see it.

“Willie ain’t one.”

I’ll tell you what he is. He is a very smart, very analytical man who really is the intellectual type–the classic Xs and Os coach, and you heard his assistants rave about his football mind at the luncheon. I believe that, and as you listen to him being interviewed many times, and see him in person, it starts to make sense. His style (even his eyeglasses) give the bookish impression, and his demeanor of being carefully measured is precisely like the high-end intelligent people I’ve met through my sixty years of life.

An important recruiting pitch for Willie.

That he is a cerebral type who is forcing the enthusiasm, and that inner conflict, from his real being is what I sensed and could not place at first. So why is he doing this?

Because he is smarter than most coaches, as he found through the course of rebuilding two programs that you cannot go into a recruiting visit with a dry analytical method and show the plan for rebuilding the team, what the offensive numbers will look like, and when the wins will come (yawn).

You have to show a fire, a passion, an “Eye of the Tiger” that the recruit has not seen from the other cerebral coaches calling on him like a Helfrich, Frost, Pellum, Neal, etc. He learned that it was necessary and that he had to dig up this outward obvious enthusiasm to achieve success, and he called on his inner will to produce it … and he does. How? You know the old motivational stuff from Dale Carnegie?

“To be enthusiastic, you must act enthusiastic, … “

Don’t laugh, because it works. I know, because I’ve shown up to give a public presentation on a terrible night of sleep, or when I received some crushing news just before my speaking event. I felt like crap and had no zip and I knew it. So what did I do? I embraced the motto above and acted the part until real enthusiasm bubbled up. Uninterested and indifferent attendees turned into mildly amused ones, and then later became forward-leaning listeners with a focused and concentrated expression on their faces (you can really see this transformation of the audience as a speaker through the presentation).

Head Coach Willie Taggart

Just like a recruiting pitch–at that point you know you got ’em. They are not necessarily sold, but they are in your camp and believe in you and your message. Mr. Taggart has figured this out. Very wise.

What else besides his forced enthusiasm and obvious intellect? I came away with other key impressions; he is telling the truth, he is rock solid, and he is not someone who is going to BS you. He is real, and he has a curious calming effect despite the energy; you believe in him. I know I certainly do.

We can overlook that one point, the way I ask others to overlook my multiple failings. So … let’s not be critical of this “enthusiasm” issue, but compliment him for it. Augment his energy with what he has demonstrated as the full package of what a head coach needs to be: a tactician, a CEO, a leader, and a mentor.

I conclude that we are darn lucky to have him.

Charles Fischer  (FishDuck)
College Football Analyst for
Eugene, Oregon

We will be starting the FishLetter again in the near future, so sign up in the upper left of the site so you don’t miss our articles when they become published and get some of behind-the-scenes commentary that I will not publish. (It only takes a minute and I never sell the information) And post the articles on your favorite Social Media sites below! Charles Fischer

All photos above come from Videos

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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

16 Responses

  1. Wendell King says:

    I agree Charles. There were two coaches that really caught my eye in the coaching search. PJ Fleck and Willie Taggart. Fleck is enthusiastic/charismatic. To me Taggart is focused and driven. They both had their mottos that sounded similar, but are different at the core (probably due to the differences in the two mens’ personalities). Fleck’s “Row the Boat” was a call to work together and the way he communicated that appeared to focus on a sense of togetherness. Taggart’s “Get on the Bus” seems to be more of a call of “We’re going places and if you want to go there get on board or get left behind”. His reason for coming to Oregon was “I want to win a championship and Oregon is team that should be playing for them”. That’s not a goal of building a “family” that is so close it will succeed, but mission-focused pursuit that makes it easy to be enthusiastic. Glad to have CWT as the current leader of the Ducks.

  2. Michael L. Oaks says:

    I think you are spot on in your assessment Charles, and I didn’t take it as a bad thing at all. I know that he is happy to be at the University of Oregon and perhaps some of his enthusiasm might be forced just a little bit. but, I over look that. I think that when you arrive at a new destination as he has, He was very impressed with the facilities, It would be perhaps the top of the list when it comes to recruiting the four and five star players. But his feet have hardly hit the ground. I think his enthusiasm will become more genuine the longer he is here in Eugene. I believe our AD did a masterful job in finding the right person to get the job done. No question about it. Taggert brings to the U of O a reputation as a solid football coach, with an ability to land football players but solid coaches also. I know that this is his first season on the campus, but no one can doubt that the enthusiasm is through the roof! I believe he will deliver and make us all proud!

  3. Platypus says:

    Charles we are definitely on the same page with this one. I have the same exact thoughts whenever i hear Coach T speak, he seem’s much more measured then what people say. Maybe his idol is Belichick the master of measured-ness…which isn’t all bad.

  4. Anthony says:

    I totally agree with you Charles… When I think of enthusiastic I don’t get that. I’m sure he is really passionate about what he does and believe. Maybe that’s what people see and call it enthusiastic. Nevertheless, I thought it was just me that noticed this. But I have to remember you are a sharp observer…. Love your articles #anewduckfaninga

  5. MAITAIDUCK says:

    Were you lucky enough to watch Lane Kiffens introductory to his recruits on signing day? Man was he energetic.

  6. Ed says:

    Its a great sign of maturity when one has the ability to recognize his strengths and weaknesses. Its quite another level when one has the foresight to work on and embrace your weaknesses to make your overall self better. I would much rather have a detail oriented task master who “gets it” enough to work on his enthusiasm than a low detail leader who is merely charismatic. Most successful coaches are task masters and detail kings. That bodes well for Coach T if this is his true nature. Great insight Charles!

    • Mike Morris says:

      You’re not really criticizing CWT’s lack of enthusiasm — you’re praising his lack of feigned enthusiasm, false bravado, bullshit. Genuine enthusiasm is usually quietly buried in the character of a person. Obviously CWT wouldn’t have been able to recruit this dream team of assistants if they weren’t made well aware of his deeply held enthusiasm for their futures.
      I can’t think of a football coach who gives off the fake enthusiasm you’re talking about. P.J. Fleck? Creating passion in a team is almost always subtly done. Interestingly, Coach Mario Cristobal momentarily tried to hype up the crowd at the past recruiting luncheon. While I cringed, I noticed many/most? others seemed to buy into it. .

    • Your second sentence is a dandy that we all could try to self-actualize towards.

      Thanks Ed.

  7. It is one thing to assert a premise…but you have PROVED it with real examples and I salute you Brandon. Great stuff, and THANKS.

  8. John McDonald says:

    Just reading between the lines on all 3 subscription Duck forums I read,I have a suspicion that the new coaching hire will be Dameyune Craig who was recently fired by LSU. He did not get along well with Ed Orgeron the current LSU Head coach. The moderator on Duck Territory knows who it is and does not have permission to release the name yet, but the hints he has dropped seem to point to Craig. He is an excellent developer of QB’s (Winston at Auburn) and would fit in nicely as the QB’s,TE’s Coach and Co-Offensive coordinator on the Oregon Staff. He is also one of the best recruiters in the country. He and Taggart are also close friends. Right now, as I understand it the new coach has already been selected but Taggart is playing it close to the vest and wants to wait before making the official announcement. We shall see

  9. John McDonald says:

    With the recent departure of Dougherty and Reeves and the pending hire of Craig (he is being vetted as we speak) I think Oregon will end up much better off especially since we will be able to hire 2 more assistant coaches, 1 immediately and another later this year when the new rules allow an increase to 10 the total # of Assistant Coaches that can be hired. I am assuming that Craig will handle QB’s and be Co-Offensive Coordinator as he recruited and Coached Winston to a National Championship game when he was QB coach at Florida State. Craig and Taggart will probably decide how best to split up the TE’s and WR’s situation. I am sure Taggart is thinking several steps ahead and has a pretty good idea already how the coaching staff will ultimately shake out.

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