Have you followed or heard anything about the Oregon football team this year? Most likely you have not, as they have been down over the past few years. Again this year, they failed to crack the top 25 in college football; something they were accustomed to each and every year, starting a few year ago. Since the end of the college football season they have fired there head coach and are looking to make many changes inside the program. The first change they made in the offseason was to hire former USF head coach, Willie Taggart. Taggart has been a bright spot for the USF Bulls over the last few years and has brought the program back to life in Tampa.
Taggart replaces Mark Helfrich, whose Oregon team finished 4-8 this past season. That type of record simply will not do in Oregon right now. When you think about it, just a few years ago Oregon was consistently in the top 5 in the country and made the college football playoffs. Helfrich led the Ducks and Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota, to the College Football Playoff national title game only two years ago. Since that game, the program has declined drastically and they needed to do something to get back to where they were just a few short years ago.
Taggart has been on everyone in college football's watch list the last few years, after showing what he can do at USF. Taggart, a 40-year-old married father of three, has won 17 of his last 21, after a 7-21 start at USF. He led USF to a 10-2 record this season and a bowl game. The 2016 Bulls have set a program single-season record for victories, cracked the Associated Press' top 25, and eclipsed numerous team and individual offensive records. It was only a matter of time before a team from the top 5 power conferences came knocking on Taggart's door. That team happens to be the Oregon Ducks out of the Pac 12.
Taggart has now led two very bad programs, Western Kentucky and USF, out of the dumps and into the national spotlight. Oregon fans hope he can have the same effect on their once dominate team. He'll head to Oregon, where he'll replace Mark Helfrich, with a career coaching record of 40-46. Taggart is originally from Florida, so it will be tough at first for him to recruit a region he is not too familiar with. If he can get any of the talent from Florida to make the trip out west, and be a part of his new program, that would be a huge step in the right direction for recruiting. I am anxious to see how well Oregon does over the next few seasons, as finding talent has never seemed to be an issue for this once dominate program.