Report: Oregon making big offer to try to keep Willie Taggart away from FSU
Taggart has been connected to the Florida State job should Jimbo Fisher leave for Texas A&M
Willie Taggart, currently Oregon's coach, has reportedly been offered a new contract in the event he feels compelled to jump to Florida State -- a job currently occupied by Jimbo Fisher, in case Fisher feels compelled to jump to Texas A&M, which he hasn't yet.
That's where we are in the coaching carousel, also known as "agent season."
Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated reports that Oregon has offered Taggart a "little more than $20 million over five years" to remain the coach of the Ducks. Andrew Greif of the Oregonian adds the buyout for the deal would be $4.5 million. There has been no official announcement of a contract extension by Oregon or Taggart, and the reported deal is unsigned at the moment.
The interest in keeping Taggart comes with Florida State conducting background work on Taggart in case Fisher leaves for A&M. That makes sense. Per Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, a source called the ongoing situation between Fisher and Florida State "a disaster." Fisher has purposefully flirted with other jobs in the past with his agent, Jimmy Sexton, but there's no doubt this time feels a little bit different as there just isn't a clear line of sight on what Fisher is going to do.
If Fisher does indeed move on to A&M, Taggart has been mentioned as a potential frontrunner to replace him. Taggart has recruiting ties to Florida and is a renowned program builder. His 47-50 overall record as a coach doesn't nearly tell the entire story. He took over two programs -- Western Kentucky and South Florida -- when they were in the dumps and turned them into contenders within three to four years. After Oregon went 4-8 last season, Taggart pulled together a 7-5 effort for the Ducks in 2017 despite substantial injury problems. In particular, the defense improved dramatically under defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.
Taggart would be a fine option for a number of high profile jobs if he was interested and his Florida ties would make him a natural fit for Florida State. As of now, however, Taggart's name appears to be in more of a holding pattern.
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