Interim coach, Florida St. aim to turn things around at BC
BOSTON (AP) — Six wins wasn’t going to be good enough for Florida State.
Boston College would take it.
Less than a week after firing coach Willie Taggart because a 4-5 start left them in danger of missing a bowl game for the second straight year, the Seminoles visit Chestnut Hill to play Boston College.
Although FSU has already declared its season a failure, the Eagles (5-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) still have a chance to qualify for a bowl game and stay alive for an eighth win that’s eluded them in coach Steve Addazio’s six seasons.
“We expect them to come out with a bang,” Boston college running back David Bailey said this week. “When we play them, we always have to earn everything.”
Taggart was 9-12 in less than two seasons and 0-5 against Florida, Clemson and Miami, including the 27-10 loss to the Hurricanes in his final game. Athletic director David Coburn said it would cost Florida State about $18 million to buy out Taggart. He’d like a replacement in place by the end of the regular season.
Reports this week said former Seminoles star Deion Sanders was among those considered for the job. For now, longtime assistant Odell Haggins is in charge of the team (3-4 ACC).
An All-American defensive tackle from the mid-1980s known as “Mr. FSU,” Haggins has been on the staff since 1994, working for Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher and Taggart. He went 2-0 as Florida State’s interim head coach after Fisher left to take the Texas A&M job in 2017.
“We’re moving forward,” said Haggins, adding that he told his team: “That’s what Willie Taggart would want. He wouldn’t want you here sulking and crying.
“He would want you to move forward. We are Florida State. We’re all we’ve got, we’re all we need.”
Here are some other things to look for in Saturday’s game:
The matchup is BC’s Red Bandanna game to honor former BC lacrosse player Welles Crowther, who died during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Crowther worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center and always had a red bandanna with him; he’s credited with saving at least 18 from the building’s collapse.
BC beat No. 9 Southern California 37-31 in the first Red Bandanna game in 2014. In all, the Eagles are 3-2 in the game dedicated to Crowther.
TAKING THEIR SHOT
Boston College had some big plays in the 58-27 victory over Syracuse last week, including 29- and 74-yard touchdown runs by Bailey and a 51-yard scoring run from AJ Dillon. In all, the Eagles racked up 496 rushing yards, including 172 yards and two touchdowns for Bailey and 242 yards and three scores for Dillon.
That’s expected from a double-barreled backfield that has caused problems for opponents all season.
Encouraging for the Eagles was the way quarterback Dennis Grosel bit off big chunks of yardage in the passing game. The sophomore walk-on, who has filled in since Anthony Brown was injured against Louisville on Oct. 5, connected on 64-, 50-, and 4-yard TD passes.
“Along with a powerful run game, we have an explosive throw game because people are selling out to the run,” Addazio said. “We want to make them defend the whole field, and we have the tools to do that.”
Former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt was promoted from defensive analyst to assistant coach after Taggart’s dismissal opened a role for an on-field assistant role. He could work with the Seminoles’ defensive line or linebackers. The NCAA allows teams to have a head coach and 10 assistants.
BC: No. 15 Notre Dame (6-2) before season finale against Pittsburgh (6-3).
Florida State: FCA Alabama State (4-4) and then No. 10 Florida (7-2).
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