Willie Taggart Hired by Oregon

After days (weeks?) of speculation and internet rumors the 2-time Rose Bowl winning 1-time BCS National Championship game participant Oregon Ducks football team (a subsidiary of Nike Inc) have found a new Head Coach.  University of South Florida HC Willie Taggart has been tapped to restore glory to this moribund Mariotaless program.  He is a young coach with a record of success along the way.  Offense is his calling card.

 

Oregonian Article

Taggart, 40, is expected to leave South Florida to succeed Mark Helfrich as coach of the Oregon Ducks, according to reports by the AP and ESPN. An official announcement is expected Wednesday.

Taggart led the Bulls to a 24-25 record in four seasons and was 16-20 at Western Kentucky in three prior seasons but at each stop, the former Stanford assistant undertook ground-up rebuilds and left the programs better than when he inherited them. The Bulls were winless in 2012, prior to Taggart’s hiring, and won two games during his first season, but have won four, eight and 10 games since.

 The length and value of Taggart’s deal have not been released

 

Highlights from his USF Bio

  • Bay Area native, so maybe that helps with CA recruiting (*Tampa Bay. I’m an idiot h/t  @Bwolf4).  At USF he had to compete with The U, FSU, and Florida for talent and that doesn’t count neighboring SEC/ACC schools mining the Sunshine State for talent
    • USF had 1 player each from MI, MS, NC OH
    • USF had 5 players from GA
    • USF had 101 players (the rest) from FL
  • USF went from 2-10 in his inaugural season to 10-2 this season
  • His “Gulf Coast Offense” set 33 program records during the 2016 season and 10 players on the American Conference All-Conference Team including QB and Offensive POY Quinton Flowers.
    • Flowers passed for 2,000+ and rushed for 1,000+
  • His mantra is “Do Something” which might be the only CFP mantra less helpful than “Row Your Boat”
    • Frankly nobody will ever top the Oregon-appropriate “chopping wood” theme from former Rutgers HC and current THE Ohio St Co-DC Greg Schiano
  • He was RB coach at Stanford from 2007-2009 given him some Pac10 experience.  Toby Gerhart was at Stanford then, and was unjustly denied the Heisman in 2009, an award that went to Mark Ingram just because the Bama RB help make Tebow cry.
    • Gerhart 2009: 1,871 Rushing, 157 Receiving, 28 TDs
    • Ingram 2009: 1,658 Rushing, 334 Receiving, 20 TDs
  • Taggart worked with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford
  • Previous to Stanford he was on the staff at his alama mater Western Kentucky where he later was HC before being hired by USF
  • Nothing about why a grown man likes being called “Willie”

In 2016, USF had one of the better offenses in the country fueled by a potent ground game.

  • #7 Points Per Game
  • #9 in Total Points
  • # 10 Yards Per Game
  • #13 in Total Yards
  • #6 in Total Rushing Yards
  • #5 in Rushing Yards Per Game
  • #74 in Total Passing
  • #72 in Passing Yards Per Game

SB Nation had a long dive into USF from May 2016

Summary:

I like this hire for Oregon.  I’ve never been enamored with pulling coaches from Power 5 programs unless you can get a guy like Paul Chryst with a long history at your program.  I’d much prefer a rising star then going for the NCAA equivalent of a John Fox or Jeff Fisher.  Hopefully he can bring the Oregon offense back to life but truthfully, I didn’t watch enough Oregon to know if the problem was primarily the youth or the coaching.  To my uneducated eyes, Oregon offensively will only ever go as far as the QB can take them.  When Vernon Adams was healthy the O hummed.  When not, they didn’t.  Dakota Prokup wasn’t actually that good so the O went nowhere.

I’ll leave it to @BWolf4 to further analyze this depth chart but this was  young Duck team.  But if it’s correct, Oregon was starting 3 true freshman, and 1 RS freshman on the OL.  The Ducks will have to replace snowball enthusiast (among his other hobbies) Pharoah Brown and stone hands Johnny Mundt at TE.  RB Royce Freeman will almost certainly be playing in Green Bay next season and WR Darren Carrington will  be gone.  So returning 7/8 starters on O (and Royce missed a lot of time this season so TBJ is sort of already a starter) and 10 starters on defense which may or may not be a good thing.

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing it exists. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.  Insert other generic cliche.  I’m glad Oregon decided to Do Something.

 

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