“I don’t think anybody that knows me and has been around me can think that there’s a lack of discipline anywhere I’ve been,” Taggart said.
Florida St. fired Taggart nine games into last season following a 27-10 loss to Miami during which his Seminoles committed 10 penalties.
At that point in the season, Taggart’s second at FSU, only four teams nationally committed more than the 8.9 per game the Seminoles averaged.
That actually marked an improvement from Taggart’s first season, when FSU averaged 9.3 per game – worst in the nation.
Prior to moving to FSU, Taggart spent one season at Oregon. The Ducks’ 9.1 penalties per game in that 2017 season ranked second-worst nationally. The following year under Mario Cristobal Oregon cut its penalty average nearly in half, committing 5.0 per game, ranking No. 34.
Following Taggart’s firing some FSU players griped about the lack of discipline within the program.
In January on the Ball and Life podcast former FSU wide receiver Keith Gavin described a drastic cultural difference between Taggart’s teams and those of previous FSU coach Jimbo Fischer.
“It was like the standards and everything were gone,” Gavin said on the podcast. “It was really like ‘everyone just have fun’ and I didn’t really come to college to just have fun.”
Taggart says criticisms always arise after coaches are relieved of their duties.
“Usually when you leave a place there are all kinds of reports of this and that, but that wasn’t an issue while I was there,” Taggart said.
Hired in December, Taggart has already taken several disciplinary steps as FAU’s coach. A handful of players with academic issues, headlined by second-team All-Conference USA linebacker Keke Leroy, have been removed from the roster and weren’t expected to participate in spring practice as they focused their attention on improving their academic standing.
“Our guys are going to be held accountable for what they said they were going to do when they decided to come to our school, academically, football and socially,” Taggart said. “I think anybody that knows me and has worked with me, they know that’s a big part of who I am and what I do. I do think that’s a big part of being successful – having a disciplined football team.”