Florida State’s woes aren’t new to Willie Taggart. The offensive line, linebackers, lack of pass rush and separation with receivers didn’t come to FSU with Taggart. Fans have been complaining about these problems ever since Jameis Winston left.
Hiring a new coach doesn’t automatically mean your existing problems will be fixed immediately.
If there’s anything for fans to be mad at Taggart about, it’s that he’s been too pleasant and overly optimistic. That’s his persona.
I also will credit him because he isn’t hiding or throwing anybody else under the bus.
He has a really nice car that needs some work on the interior. Let’s focus there. Here are FSU’s last four recruiting classes on the offensive line (star rating follows name).
Cole Minshew (3) OG
David Robbins (3) OG
Abdul Bello (4) OT
Landon Dickerson (4) OT
Baveon Johnson (4) C
Juan Williams (4) OT
Josh Ball (4) OT
Mike Arnold (3) OT
Andrew Boselli (3) OG
Brady Scott (3) OT
Christian Meadows (4) OG
Christian Armstrong (3) OT
Jalen Goss (3) OT
When comparing where the program is and where it should be, I look at who the top dogs are – or should be – and what they have done.
As a comparison, Georgia has signed 17 offensive linemen in last four recruiting cycles and only five of them are three stars. Alabama likewise has recruited 17 in the last four cycles, only two of which are three stars. Clemson has recruited 15 with a bulk of them being three stars while OSU has recruited 17 with five of them being stars.
Curious about Texas A&M?
The Aggies have recruited 18 linemen in the last four cycles.
The star ranking of Florida State’s offensive line recruits isn’t bad, but the volume of players brought in is well below where it should be.
My point, the only way for FSU to get itself out of this problem on the offensive line is to recruit yourself out of it. In 2014, Jimbo Fisher did focus on the issue, but you’ve got to consistently, every year, bring in competition to create a since of urgency, cover up any misses, guard against injury and transfer and become better.
Look at the numbers.
Thirteen offensive line recruits in four years. Five play at one time. Players get hurt, get in trouble, are phased out, miss their grades – as well as guys you just flat out miss on – and you find yourself in a real problem.
To be frank, which is hindsight and we all know that’s 20/20, Taggart should have brought in a full class of five new lineman in 2018. That’s the approach that should be taken for each recruiting class moving forward.
Fans gets excited about the skill players, but the game at every level is won in the trenches. Taggart must bring in a fresh group of offensive linemen willing to compete and hungry each year. That being said, it’s not an easy predicament to fix overnight. It will take deliberate recruitment to improve in this area.
Until then, it’s on offensive line coach Greg Frey to figure out the best five or eight guys who can play. FSU might have to treat the OL like the NFL for a year with starters and a bunch of swing guys. If they can just provide some time for the offense and passing game, things can develop.
There remains, however, no matter the numbers or star rankings, any excuse to be pushed around by Samford.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/florida-states-offensive-line-problems-tie-back-to-recruiting-not-easily-fixed