Willie Taggart knows all about the Florida State-Miami rivalry.
His first taste of it as an FSU coach in 2018 – running out to a 20-point lead before losing 28-27 – was difficult to handle for the life-long Seminoles fan who grew up in Bradenton.
“To me it was no different than I was as a fan not being here, I wanted to beat ’em, I wanted to beat ’em bad,” Taggart said. “Still the same, I want to beat ’em, hate to lose to Miami, hate it. It sucks.”
FSU and Miami face off on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ABC) in a game between 4-4 opponents. It is the first time in more than four decades that the two teams play this deep in a season where both are .500 or under.
“The rivalry is the rivalry,” Taggart said. “It’s going to be a big game. You can throw the records out. It’s going to always be big time. We don’t like each other. That’s just the way it is.”
No QB decision
Taggart smiled when he called Cam Akers “QB3.” As far as who is QB1 or QB2, Taggart laughed when he was asked about the Seminoles’ starter and replied “Yeah, Cam Akers.” As in previous weeks, it appears that a decision between James Blackman and Alex Hornibrook will be made later in the week and not be announced to the media.
As far as what went into choosing Hornibrook to start against Syracuse, Taggart said: “We felt like Alex was going to give us the best chance to win the ball game.”
Akers ran 20 times, caught two passes and threw two passes. He did a little of everything in his most extensive playing time as a wildcat quarterback.
The formation was clearly effective, especially because it uses Akers and Khalan Laborn. Taggart indicated fans (and Miami’s defense) will see more of it on Saturday.
“It was good for us on Saturday,” Taggart said. “I think you’ll see more of it. It worked. Cam did a great job of executing it when he was back there. It’s on film. Let everybody get to see it and practice against it. We have to self scout ourselves and do some things to help us and prepare us for these upcoming games.”
Guard Dontae Lucas and kicker Ricky Aguayo are day-to-day, Taggart said. Lucas’ injury is undisclosed. Aguayo is health-related.
Receiver Warren Thompson is handling some “personal issues,” Taggart said. Thompson did not play against Syracuse. His status for Miami is uncertain.
ACC players of the week
Akers was named the ACC’s running back of the week after he tied the school record with four rushing touchdowns.
Hamsah Nasirildeen was named the ACC’s defensive back of the week after recording a career-high 17 tackles, the most for an FSU player since linebacker A.J. Nicholson in 2005.
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