Coming off a win that put them back in the postseason after a two-year absence, there’s been yet another adjustment to Florida State’s temporary coaching staff.
Monday, FSU announced that Mario Edwards Sr. (pictured) has been promoted by interim head coach Odell Haggins to an on-field role as an assistant on the defensive side of the ball. Edwards, who was a defensive back for the Seminoles in the nineties, had served as a senior defensive analyst this season for Willie Taggart, who was fired earlier this month after less than two full seasons on the job.
Edwards will take over the slot previously held by David Kelly, who came to FSU as a wide receivers coach in 2018 after previous stints with Taggart at Oregon and South Florida. This year, Kelly had worked exclusively as recruiting coordinator, which left FSU with one less than the 11 allotted on-field coaches.
From the football program’s release:
The NCAA permits each team to have 11 countable coaches, including the head coach. Those coaches are the only staff members permitted to recruit off-campus and, along with four graduate assistants, to provide on-field instruction.
Sitting at 6-5, FSU will close out the 2019 regular season against in-state rival Florida Nov. 30.
It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.
In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation. At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”
Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”
With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.
Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.
Former Florida State coach Willie Taggart may be living the buyout life for now, but it’s always good to keep some doors open for some new opportunities. Who knows whether or not Taggart will be joining the Michigan Wolverines in the near future as a member of the football staff under Jim Harbaugh, but Taggart has been spotted taking in a hockey game in Ann Arbor this evening, with none other than Jack Harbaugh by his side.
Yep. That’s Taggart sitting in the row directly in front of Jack Harbaugh. For those unaware, there is a history between the two men, so Taggart hanging out with Harbaugh comes as no real surprise. Taggart was recruited to play quarterback at Western Kentucky out of high school. The assistant coach doing the recruiting? Jim Harbaugh. The head coach of the Hilltoppers? That’s right. It was Jack Harbaugh. Taggart went on to begin his coaching career at WKU working under Jack Harbaugh and Taggart left to take on the role of running backs coach under Jim Harbaugh when the current Wolverines head coach was hired by Stanford.
Is Taggart moving closer to coming full circle in his coaching career and be a new assistant coach at Michigan? At the very least, perhaps Taggart will be one of the next analysts that help to Wolverines. Time will tell, but it would certainly seem like a good possibility for Taggart to remain in the coaching game.
The Florida State coaching search has seemingly gone off the rails before it’s even begun but if the players themselves have a say in the matter, there’s a pretty clear choice as to who they would like to replace Willie Taggart full-time.
And it’s not the ex-FSU star that has been thrown out in various reports either.
In what appears to be a somewhat coordinated campaign on social media, defensive linemen Cory Durden, injured DL Marvin Wilson, linebacker Jaleel McRae and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. were among several dozen members of the current 2019 team to have Tweeted their support for interim head coach Odell Haggins getting the permanent gig.
Haggins is in his second stint as interim head coach, having taken over for Jimbo Fisher when he left for Texas A&M and now again in the wake of Taggart’s firing. He’s 3-0 in charge of the program, including an impressive victory at Boston College last weekend. The Florida native played at FSU from 1985 to 1989 and after an All-American career and brief foray into the NFL, has spent his entire coaching career in Tallahassee at his alma mater as a line coach.
While it remains to be seen if he’ll get serious play for the gig given some of the big names being tossed around, former interim head coaches do occupy the top three spots in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and Haggins is as much Mr. FSU as anybody. It’s pretty clear the players support his candidacy and can certainly help things along on that front by winning out the rest of the regular season.
It’s important to have goals in life. For instance, the only thing stopping you from being a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back is that you haven’t run for any yards. The only thing stopping me from becoming the next President of the United States is that no one has voted for me. On that same token, the only thing stopping Deion Sanders from becoming Florida State’s next head coach is the pesky fact that Florida State has yet to contact him.
That’s according to Sanders himself, who said the following on his own NFL Network show:
“I have not spoken to anyone from Florida State regarding this. But let me assure you, I am 100 percent — 100 percent — desiring to coach at the next level. And I will.”
It’s important to note that the quote was said on NFL Network’s airwaves and then quoted on NFL.com, because the original report of Sanders’s purported candidacy emerged from NFL Network. And no one else. The Tallahassee Democrat, speaking to and ostensibly on behalf of the athletics department, came out and knocked it down with both hands.
It’s also important to note that the Florida State job is open, meaning there’s no coaching norms for FSU to violate by actively shopping its position on the open market. AD David Coburn has said he plans to fill the position by the end of the month.
It’s also important to note that Deion is not a coach, meaning he doesn’t have to give a put-on-the-spot denial because he’s got a team to coach this weekend. This isn’t coaching doublespeak where Deion himself may not have talked to Florida State but his agent has. If Florida State wanted to hire Deion, they would have talked to Deion by now.
So, unless the man wearing a gold necklace with his nickname in gold letters on live television is lying to our faces, the only conclusion here is that Deion Sanders is not going to be Florida State’s next head coach. Which is a bummer.