By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
November 26, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- For the first time in nearly four decades, hindsight has come to the Florida State football season before a bowl game, with plenty of dejected players and countless more upset fans.
"Right now it hurts. It cuts deep right now," FSU quarterback Deondre Francois said following Saturday's loss to Florida, ending the Noles' season. "We've been to a bowl game every year that I've been here, it hurts not going to a bowl game. I don't think I've ever not seen Florida State in a bowl game since I've been alive."
No one realistically expected the Seminoles to be a national title contender and, at best, they were a dark horse to win the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But, what the garnet and gold faithful did expect was a product better than what they got last year and one that showed signs of better things to come.
They got neither.
No matter your feelings on Jimbo Fisher, it's clear the Noles' one-time head coach left behind major dysfunction; a locker room split on how to move forward, a culture that lacked accountability on and off the field and a roster with several depth issues and inefficiencies - particularly at linebacker and on the offensive line.
No matter who was named head coach, most reasonable fans couldn't expect all of these issues to be solved with a magic wand.
FSU's deep inherent problems weren't going to go away overnight. However, no one expected new issues to arise the way they have in year one of Willie Taggart's tenure.
Taggart inherited many messes, but he's made several of his own.
A minus-11 turnover margin is a Taggart problem.
An offense that couldn't run tempo or be lined up consistently is a Taggart problem.
A team that averaged more penalties a game than any other at the FBS level is a Taggart problem.
An insistence on sticking with one quarterback, even when other options looked as though they could be beneficial, is a Taggart problem.
A team that's too busy throwing punches to get off the field in crucial moment is a Taggart problem.
Taggart has made some of his own mess to what Fisher had already created and it seems like he knows it, even hinting at the importance this coming off season will have to his tenure at FSU after falling to the Gators.
"It's important that, starting with me, starting tonight, that I evaluate everything, from me, our staff, what we're doing, how we're doing it, to make sure we get it back to how we all want it around here, and we will," he said.
By all indications, Taggart is a good guy and it's really easy to want to see him succeed at being the coach of the team he grew up watching and loving. But, to do that, they'll have to start looking a little more like that team Taggart watched all those years ago.