Several brand-name college football programs have recently hired new coaches, including Texas (Tom Herman), Oregon (Willie Taggart) and Baylor (Matt Rhule).
All of those hires are intriguing for various reasons, but keep your eye on Eugene. Since playing for a national title in 2014, Oregon is 13-12 and went 4-8 in 2016.
Don’t expect that to continue in the years to come.
“I think Willie Taggart in Oregon is going to be fantastic,” CBS Sports Network college football analyst Randy Cross said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Maybe not this year, maybe not the first year. Willie Taggart recruits all over the country in the biggest spots. He had kids at USF and Western Kentucky from Florida and Texas and Louisiana and Georgia and California. He goes into the hot spots and he pulls out really good players.”
Taggart, 40, improved in each of his four seasons at USF, going from 2-10 in 2013 to 10-2 in 2016. USF plays South Carolina (6-6) in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. ET.
“Do yourself a favor: Watch USF’s football team when they play in their bowl game,” Cross said. “My guess is you’re going to see some offense and some talent that’s as good as anybody’s in the country. I think he also is surrounded by a bunch of excellent football coaches that he’s put himself in with.”
Taggart played quarterback at Western Kentucky in the mid-1990s. He was an assistant coach there from 1999-2006 and the head coach from 2010-12. After turning around USF, he’ll try to do the same for Oregon.
“When you talk about coaching trees, maybe we all ought to start looking at the Jack Harbaugh coaching tree,” Cross said. “There’s a bunch of assistants and GAs that were on (his staff) at Western Kentucky – guys like Wille Taggart and Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh and it goes on and on. It’s a lot of fun to see. I think Oregon has really done themselves well.”