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Does Willie Taggart Have Leftover Beef With USF?

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The USF-Willie Taggart relationship seemed to benefit both sides. So why’s he trying to take a piece out of USF after he’s gone?

NCAA Football: Central Florida at South Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NOTE: Now that football season is over and it’s tougher to come up with things to write about, we took a page from Deadspin and implemented a five-minute rule in our Slack channel. If we talk about anything — and we mean anything — for at least five minutes, it goes on the blog. I think we spent 15+ minutes on this one.


Silly me. I thought Willie Taggart’s tenure at USF worked out for both sides. The Bulls saw their football program rebuilt from... well, not even the ground up, more like 100 feet below the ground up. Taggart got another impressive turnaround on his resume. At the end of four years, USF had an 11-2 record and a fully stocked cupboard, and Taggart had Oregon offering him one of the prize jobs in college football. Seems like everyone got what they wanted, with no hard feelings.

Except that’s apparently not how Taggart feels. Ever since leaving for Eugene, it’s been like he’s out for revenge on USF for, I don’t know, helping him become an even bigger success than he already was? Let’s recap.

There’s an unwritten rule that when a coach leaves for a new gig, they leave the commits from their old school alone. You commit to the school, after all, not the coach, right? At an AFCA meeting earlier this month, there was discussion about coaches trying to poach their old school’s commits.

It doesn’t happen often, because it’s a pretty dick move. That’s not stopping Taggart, though.

(Personally I wouldn’t be too bothered about it since Judson is... well, let’s put it this way. If you’re a 5-star recruit who tweets day and night and has his own web series about his recruitment, you’re media savvy. If you’re a 3-star recruit who does those things, you might be something else. Plus Charlie Strong hasn’t been the kind of coach who would just roll with antics like that. I’d still rather have Judson than not have him, but maybe this wouldn’t work out as well as it would have before.)

So, to quote Pete Carroll talking to Willie’s coaching mentor... what’s your deal? Did he and Mark Harlan get crossways? Is he more interested in taking USF down a peg than worrying about his new school? Between whatever happened in Tampa, and three of his Ducks players ending up in the hospital, and his co-offensive coordinator getting popped for DUI over the weekend, Taggart looks like he’s intent on burning through his honeymoon period long before his first Oregon team ever takes the field.