Whoever Taggart hires will have to help get guys like Ryne Giddins back on track. - US PRESSWIRE
The new USF coach cleans house and only keeps one assistant from Skip Holtz's tenure.
New USF coach Willie Taggart had said in his introductory press conference that he would wait until next week to decide which of Skip Holtz's assistant coaches he would keep and which ones he would let go. Instead, he made his move on Thursday afternoon, dismissing Holtz's entire staff except for running backs coach Larry Scott, who also happens to be the best recruiter on the payroll.
There were two points of speculation. One was why Taggart decided to move up his decision. That may have been because Holtz was hired by Louisiana Tech as their head coach on Thursday night, and Taggart wanted to give them a chance to latch on with their head coach if he wanted them. Also, next week is when assistant coach hiring season begins in earnest, as recruiting enters a dead period. Taggart may not have seen a reason to leave them hanging when they could use that time to line up new jobs for 2013.
The other point of speculation involved Kevin Patrick, the defensive line coach who had been involved with USF football seemingly forever. The move upset a good number of people, but I was kind of OK with it. You hate to turn away one of the few true lifers USF has, but at the same time, we're pretty much starting all over here. Institutional knowledge may not be as valuable as it seems. (And also, the defensive line seriously underachieved last year, especially Ryne Giddins.)
We'll see who Taggart brings in to replace all of these coaches, but one of his old assistants seems like a natural fit -- Marquel Blackwell, only the greatest player in USF history and a graduate assistant this past year at Western Kentucky. In addition, Taggart brought defensive assistant Raymond Woodie with him from WKU to fill an undetermined role.