Willie Taggart, the new man in charge of Florida State football, has earned his keep on the offensive side of the ball. After a playing quarterback at Western Kentucky in the 1990s, Taggart has coached his way up through the ranks — exclusively on offense. Taggart has been a coordinator; he’s also coached quarterbacks and running backs.
This is Taggart’s third coaching job in the last calendar year, which is a bit ridiculous when you think about it. As of right now, though, that’s the nature of the industry.
With that said, what can Florida State fans expect to see on offense in 2018 and beyond?
This is by no means a holistic look at the offense run by Taggart; so much goes into that analysis, including film study (check out Ian Boyd’s work for that). However, this provides a quick snapshot of the offensive profile run by Florida State’s new coach at his last two stops — South Florida and Oregon.
In the underneath charts, we take a look at a handful of statistics: pace, explosiveness, efficiency and the breakdown of pass or run plays. Pace, explosiveness and efficiency come from Football Study Hall. Explosiveness is measured in terms of isolated points — points per play on successful plays. Efficiency is measured in terms of another statistic: Success Rate.
Success rate, which is a Football Outsiders statistic, measures the percentage of plays that an offense nets 50 percent of necessary yardage on first down, 70 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third and fourth down.
According to Football Study Hall’s research, teams that win the explosiveness edge are victorious 86 percent of the time. Teams that get the edge in terms of efficiency win 83 percent of the time.
Not too shabby
2015 — South Florida: 33.6 points, No. 41 in the FBS
|Explosiveness: Isolated Points||1.38 PPP, No. 21|
|Efficiency: Success Rate||40%, No. 36|
|Pass Play Percent||33%|
|Run Play Percent||67%|
2016 — South Florida: 43.8 points, No. 4 in the FBS
|Explosiveness: Isolated Points||1.51, No. 1|
|Efficiency: Success Rate||45.8%, No. 25|
|Pass Play Percent||39%|
|Run Play Percent||61%|
2017 — Oregon: 36.7 points, No. 18 in the FBS
|Explosiveness: Isolated Points||1.14, No. 76|
|Efficiency: Success Rate||47.3%, No. 11|
|Pass Play Percent||31%|
|Run Play Percent||69%|
If you’re a Florida State fan, these numbers should inspire some confidence. Taggart’s offenses, which lean run-heavy (Hello, Cam Akers), have that rare balance of efficiency and explosiveness. With the firepower the Seminoles posses at some of the skill positions, that bodes well.
The 2016 USF team truly was a power to behold on offense. That season, the Bulls finished with the No. 4 scoring offense in the nation, and were the most explosive team in the FBS. Find that type of success at Florida State, and championships aren’t too far behind.
Taggart has played faster every season; Oregon finished No. 6 nationally in pace, and No. 11 in efficiency. The increased tempo is something that should appease a fanbase that grew tired of slow-mo Jimbo Fisher offenses that would make a mid-90s Mike Fratello team envious.
Rabbit vs. Hare
Yes, it was no secret that Jimbo’s offenses moved methodically. In two of his last three seasons at the school, Fisher’s teams ranked near the bottom nationally in terms of pace.
- 2015: Pace, No. 121
- 31.7 points (No. 47)
- 2016: Pace, No. 60
- 35.1 points (No. 31)
- 2017: Pace, No. 127
- 26.7 points (No. 78)
Obviously, FSU had all kinds of issues this season on offense; that was almost certain to be a guarantee once Deondre Francois went down, and it became clear that the team lacked a game-ready backup quarterback.