FSU's Willie Taggart declines to name starting QB vs Wake Forest

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By: Brendan Sonnone | Noles247
October 17, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (247Sports) -- Florida State coach Willie Taggart declined to name a starting quarterback for this week's contest at Wake Forest.

Taggart, during his Thursday news conference, was asked if James Blackman would start this Saturday.

"You'll see Saturday," Taggart said.

Taggart was then asked if he planned to use two quarterbacks.

"You'll see Saturday," Taggart said.

FSU started Blackman in last week's 45-14 loss at Clemson, but frequently rotated in Alex Hornibrook for a series at a time as both QBs struggled. Blackman took the final reps of the contest and has been FSU's starter each game this season, other than when he was inured (knee) for the Seminoles' contest against NC State on Sept. 28.

It's certainly a different tone than Taggart had before that NC State game, when he made it clear that Blackman was the starter as long as he was healthy.

“If James is healthy, James will start,” Taggart said several times leading up to the game.

Blackman ended up aggravating his knee injury during that Friday in practice, Taggart said, and did not play. He also was also clear leading into last week's game at Clemson that Blackman would be the starting quarterback, but that FSU would use both Blackman and Hornibrook.

The Seminoles, when they've had two healthy quarterbacks, have done some rotating in each of their past two games. Blackman played the majority of the first half against Louisville, although Hornibrook played in two series in the half before Blackman's knee injury caused him to miss the rest of the game. Then against Clemson, Blackman took 41 snaps to Hornibrook's 19 snaps.

Taggart was cryptic when discussing the quarterback position as well, especially when it came to whether he still planned on utilizing the rotation after evaluating how it worked against Clemson.

"We evaluate what we did. We always evaluate what we're doing and then make sure that we do what's best for our football team. Again, we want someone that's going to lead our team, and I think we've seen that both guys have executed our offense really well," Taggart said on Monday. "Last week we took the wrong week to have our worst offensive performance. And I thought just everybody, not just our quarterbacks, but everybody, just didn't have a good game offensively. "

Taggart was also asked on Monday if the week of practice would determine who starts at QB.

"I wouldn't say the week is going to [decide who] starts," Taggart said. "I'm going to decide."

Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles said that FSU rotated the QBs against Clemson based on "feel" rather than having a set structure on a series-by-series basis. He didn't think one quarterback outplayed the other, noting that their grades reflected the inconsistent play from the lopsided loss. He also was asked if he liked the two-QB system.

"I like being productive on offense," Briles said. "So I don't care what kind of rotation it is, as long as we're productive on offense. So we'll continue to do what we need to do to make sure we get that way."

The Seminoles are 2.5-point underdogs entering the contest, according to SportsLine.com. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.



 
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