SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ college football reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the hottest headlines from Week 13.
USA TODAY Sports
Florida State officials are still in the dark over whether head coach Jimbo Fisher plans to remain in Tallahassee or jump to Texas A&M, which is expected to make him a lucrative offer to become the Aggies’ head coach.
But the Seminoles will not be caught unprepared in the event Fisher leaves.
A person with knowledge of the matter told USA TODAY Sports that Florida State administrators have started preliminary background checks into candidates, including Oregon coach Willie Taggart. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Taggart is expected to be one of the top targets for Florida State’s search should the job open, as he has significant ties to the state and recruited extremely well in the Interstate-4 corridor during his four seasons at South Florida.
Taggart went 10-2 at South Florida in 2016, which launched him into the national spotlight and ultimately into the job at Oregon. The Ducks went 7-5 in Taggart’s first season and displayed improvement across the board.
Taggart, 41, played at Western Kentucky and coached there from 1999-2006 before Jim Harbaugh hired him at Stanford as an assistant in 2007. He came back to Western Kentucky as head coach in 2010 and helped lead a turnaround that resulted in the program’s first bowl appearance in 2012.
Though Taggart has only been at Oregon for one season, there is a belief in the industry he would consider returning to the Southeast, in particular for a traditional powerhouse like Florida State.
Follow Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken.