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FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

November 5, 2018

Willie Taggart

Tallahassee, Florida

WILLIE TAGGART: After watching the film from this past week and all the bad things that we did, I saw some good things in the ball game that we can build on with our football team. Again, I looked at it and I thought our guys played hard, we didn't play smart and that's something that we got to do as a team, as a young team and a team that's trying to find its way. We can't continue to beat ourselves and think we're going to find that way. We got to be better with the penalties and take care of the football. You heard me say that quite a bit and it's so true and when you're playing against a good football team then they will expose you when you're not doing those things the right way and that's playing winning football and a lot of these teams we're playing, they're not making those mistakes and again we got to understand that, keep working towards getting better at those things and it will come through here sooner or later.

Q. I saw you did an interview and you talked about Walt Bell possibly or continuing to call plays. How did you feel that went?
WILLIE TAGGART: From who?

Q. Jeff Cameron.
WILLIE TAGGART: Oh, I thought that was taped for later.

Q. Oh. They put the Twitter out already.
WILLIE TAGGART: Oh, okay. Go ahead, finish your question.

Q. How did you feel that went and what did you take away from it?
WILLIE TAGGART: I thought it went well. I thought Walt did a good job of calling plays and I'm sure there's some plays like every play caller that's always some plays you would like to take back, but I thought he did well. I know for myself, being able to see the game a little better and also interject and help out along the way I thought that helped us on the offensive side of the ball. So I thought our first game from that standpoint, obviously we didn't get the win, but I thought him doing that was good and it allowed me to see and be a part of other things within our program.

Q. On Saturday you mentioned that this is another rebuild, you've done several rebuilds before in your career, but how difficult or challenging is it to try to keep getting a hundred percent out of these guys when they might not be as mentally tough as you want them at this point to try to keep them engaged and get a hundred percent for these next three weeks?
WILLIE TAGGART: Well I think it's always important from the beginning, it's the test of hearts and minds of our players, and when you do that, then the players don't want to let you down, they're going to give you everything they have and they're going to work to do the things you ask for. When they know you truly care about them. And I think our players realize and understand that we truly care about them and we want what's best for them and we understand again none of them came here to be in this situation but we're all here and we all got to work to get out of it and get it back to where we know it belongs and we all got to commit ourselves to being better at what we have to do. We look at why we're in this position and a lot of it is on us, so we have no one else to blame but ourselves and we owe it to ourselves and our former players and our fan base and our university to get it right.

Q. A lot of coaches maybe too prideful to make a change like not calling plays. I guess, what went into that decision throughout the week, when did you start considering it, and yeah, I guess basically that's it?
WILLIE TAGGART: Well, I think, again, you always got to evaluate, you always evaluate your program, always, and again, I'm not a big ego guy, I'm going to always do what's best for our program and just because I give up plays doesn't mean I'm not involved in it. I'm still going to be involved in everything and make suggestions when I need to, but I felt like this is what our football team needed. I felt like our coaches needed this. I felt like I could be more help with our program by being involved with more and spending my time, dividing my time in a lot of other areas to make sure that we're where we need to be. I didn't think necessarily the play calling was an issue, I think it's a lot of other things that need to be addressed and need to be taken care of in order for us to be what we need to be on the football field. So that's a big reason why I did that and I know Walt knows exactly what we want out of our offense and I have faith that he can do that. Again, I'm not going anywhere, I'm still there, so but I just felt like I can help our program a lot better by being in other areas and areas that we really need to get better in to help us rectify some of the things that we're doing on the football field on Saturdays.

Q. Just in regards to the play calling, in specific can you just talk about what areas you felt you were able to help the team just being able to have some of that freedom on Saturday and then second part of the question, will Walt be calling plays again this weekend against Notre Dame?
WILLIE TAGGART: Yes, Walt's going to call the plays this weekend as well. Again, I thought I was able to help out Walt in play calling and helping set up some things that we did on Saturday and seeing things, I thought I was able to interact with our players a lot better, a lot more on the sidelines when I needed to. I thought I was able to help Coach Barnett out at times on certain things or seeing things that doing things, so just being involved and seeing everything and making sure that we correct the things that we need to correct I would say is the first time you really, really get to see everything on the sideline and how things were and you're not trying to look at your play call sheet and think about what play to call next but you can see things around and nip things in the bud before it gets bad. And I will say, our guys were really good on the sidelines, it was so much better than the week before and I credit our guys for doing that.

Q. After you watched the film what did you think of James's performance in that situation?
WILLIE TAGGART: I thought James did well. I told you all at the beginning of the week I had no doubt that James would do a good job when he went in there. Same thing with James, I'm sure there were some plays that he would love to take back, but he's such a great competitor and I thought he did a good job of distributing the ball to a lot of different teammates and again he was I thought he did a good job and I thought some of the things we did in helping from a protection standpoint and keeping the back in helped tremendously for him to get those balls off at times. But I thought James did well.

Q. Second question, will he start on Saturday?
WILLIE TAGGART: We'll see. We'll see on Saturday. We'll see on Saturday. We got to go through the week and see how Deondre is doing and see how these guys are practicing throughout the week and we'll see on Saturday. We'll make that decision later in the week.

Q. We saw Cole Minshew suffer an injury. Is he going to be available coming into the week and is there any further update on the Landon Dickerson front?
WILLIE TAGGART: Day-to-day with Cole. And with Landon he's not ready. I wish he was.

Q. I think you had one play where you, a player fair caught it when it wasn't in the end zone, you get it at the 25. Is there any -- I know you guys have a lot of issues with penalties where you're not necessarily getting the ball out where you want to on kick off returns. Any more thought about potentially taking more fair catches when the ball isn't in the end zone?
WILLIE TAGGART: No, we want to get it right. We want to coach it up and get our guys to doing it the way we want to. We have some talented players and we got to coach, we can't, that's our job is to coach them up and get them right so we're not having those penalties so we can allow some of our explosive players to do the things that they can do for us. I know in that kickoff return in particular we felt that if he kicked it at a certain spot on the field then we wanted to fair catch it. Because of what we wanted to do blocking wise. But other than that we want to return, we want our guys blocking with great fundamentals and technique the way that they need to and we got to do a great job of coaching them up to do it.

Q. How do you plan on containing the fragility of your team going into such a hostile and cold environment with Notre Dame? I know Clemson being another a playoff team that came into the friendly confines of Doak Campbell, so I guess where does the fragile team find their strengths to play right now and how are they going to tap into it?
WILLIE TAGGART: You find it through each other. That's where it comes from, whether you're fragile or not you play for each other. And those guys they train every day together they go out there and fight every day together and they got to lean on each other. That's what it's going to take. We're not going of to have anybody else on our side while we go up there other than our fans that come there and our fans that's watching, but you lean on each other and play for each other. To me that's how you go and do those things and play well, play hard and smart.

Q. Going back to the quarterbacks, regardless of who starts this week what kind of challenge do you feel Notre Dame provides for either of them?
WILLIE TAGGART: Well, Notre Dame's a really good football team and again we're going into a hostile environment so for whomever the quarterback is, they got to understand that and where we're playing at and against a good football team. But again, for us, we can't necessarily worry about Notre Dame we got to worry about ourselves and get better and play smarter and do the things that we need to do. We need to play winning football and that's what we haven't done. What I mean by that is those turnovers and penalties and playing smart. Worry about us and get us better, that's got to be the focus.

Q. With the quarterback battle what specifically are you looking for from those guys this week?
WILLIE TAGGART: Have a great week of practice. Run the offense and the offense get executed and go. Pretty simple. I thought both guys did good when they were in there. When they had time to throw the football they did a pretty damn good job and when they don't, then we don't. So yeah, that's it.

Q. The DB's, there were a couple pass interference calls that might have been a little questionable, is there anything technique wise there with that or did you feel like they played the way they're supposed to play?
WILLIE TAGGART: I'm not gonna get fined.

Q. Following up, they also, there were a few plays where the DB's -- sometimes fans and media get frustrated when the DB's don't look backwards for the ball. Can you talk about that and how the DB's techniques in those situations and when they should look back and when they shouldn't?
WILLIE TAGGART: Yeah, I think there's a lot of different ways guys defensive back coaches teach to play that when you're playing man coverage. Some guys teach leaning into the receiver and turning back and looking for the ball, some guys play through the hand when the receiver goes up and plays through his hand to get the ball out. There's a lot of different techniques. We can be better at it, we practice it all the time, we because we know that's something we do a lot. So and those things are going to happen when you're playing man coverage, it's a judgment call and again you just, yeah.

Q. A few days away but the forecast says the weather could get nasty. A lot of guys that aren't used to that. Is there anything you can kind of do to prepare for it?
WILLIE TAGGART: Our guys are tired of the heat. They want to cool off a little bit. It's going to be cold for everybody.

Q. You praised Tamorrion Terry after the game. He's someone you saw when you first got here, a special talent, but in terms of growth of confidence or in believing in his skill set what have you seen this year?
WILLIE TAGGART: Well, Tamorrion promised me and as we were going into training camp that he was going to be everything we thought he can be. And he's living up to it. And I'm not saying just on the football field but off the field, in the classroom, he's just stepped his game up. I mean you talk about maturing, he made a commitment to himself that he was going to better himself personally and athletically and it's paying off for him. He gives 110 percent every time, practice, whether it's on punt and running down there and then he comeback and run a deeper ball for you and comeback and do it again for you. He don't get tired, but he loves playing football and he loves his team and he wants to do everything he can to help this football team win.

Q. With that in mind and I think you said you wish you had a bunch of guys like him, after the game, is that kind of the standard like a guy like that of someone that other people can follow? Is that what you guys need more of going forward?
WILLIE TAGGART: Well you want highly motivated, highly competitive, tough, smart, good people around. And I think Tamorrion has that. I think some other guys have it on our team too. You want a team full of that. That's the culture that you want. Yeah, you got the motivate guys but when you have guys that self motivate and care, then it makes things a lot easier for you. I think again with a guy like Tamorrion, this is a place he wanted to be, he dreamed of being here, he dreamed of winning championships here, and he wanted to get it back that way so he's giving us everything he has to help this program get it back that way and you want everyone to have that same mentality when they come here and like I said before we all owe everything we have to Florida State University to get it right and he's committed to doing that and we have other guys that way. We need a team full of guys that's committed to doing it that way and when it gets that way, it's going to be really special and it will get that way.

Q. When Deondre was starting, James was his most ardent supporter, he was very enthusiastic on the sideline. How was Deondre on Saturday in that role?
WILLIE TAGGART: Again, those are two different personalities. James is James. Me personally I love to have a team full of James'. Again, like Tamorrion. But James is different than Tamorrion. Tamorrion is a laid back guy, doesn't say much. And Francois the same way, he don't say much, but when he does he speaks intelligently, he says things that his teammates need to hear and the things I've seen out of him in these last few weeks is he's helping and teaching the younger guys how to do things, the young receivers, the backs, and how we can do things better and that's been really good to see and I thought he was the same way with James on the sideline when those guys was communicating and talking about certain things that they seen on the field. So those guys are really good for each other and great teammates to each other and understand why they both came here and knowing that they have to compete and be at their best playing quarterback at Florida State University. So, but I was impressed with him and the things he was doing on the sideline to help our team and I will say he was like James when it came to encouragement and how we're going to do this, we're going to do that and don't look at the scoreboard, he wasn't as animated as James, but he was he was saying those things and guys were listening to him.

Q. Going to throw you off with a Notre Dame question here.
WILLIE TAGGART: Yes.

Q. The third straight week you're playing a quarterback that's ranked in the Top-10 for efficiency rankings. What does Book do so well and how is it he compare to the last couple guys?
WILLIE TAGGART: He is. He's really accurate throwing the football. He throws seeds. I think he is very similar to the kid at Clemson when it comes to accuracy. The kid at Clemson gets it out really fast and has a really strong arm. But I think he's, he understand the offense, he's a winner, he's a gamer. He gets in the game you can tell when he plays he's having fun. And guys feed off of him. But he puts the ball where his receivers can catch it and they can run after the catch. So we got to find ways to get pressure on him and not let him be comfortable throwing the football because he's a pretty talented guy doing that.

Q. You mentioned there were things you can do, you've done some things to help the offensive line in pass protection, but what can you do for the running game? I know you're playing a lot of guys up there that you probably weren't necessarily expecting to play but are there, I know you guys have tried a lot of different things, is there anything left in the bag of tricks?
WILLIE TAGGART: We'll keep trying to get better, keep trying to get better and hopefully it will kick off for us. Again we showed flashes at times we just got to be consistent in doing it. I think part, I know a big part of our problem is we're getting behind in these games and we're playing from behind and when you're doing that it's hard to run the ball consistently enough and trying to come back and win these ball games. So I think one way of helping our team run the ball better is try not to play from behind. If we can get out and get out early, those things will help us from that standpoint but we got to continue to work with our guys to -- it's not just the O line, I means it the O line and the backs, it's the whole thing that we got to be able to get that synergy to go and keep working and hopefully -- it will be a perfect week for it to jump start, you know and I know it will be a perfect week to do it.

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