Taggart praises Blackman, doesn’t name starting QB

Willie Taggart found plenty to praise with James Blackman. But he also did not name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s homecoming game against Syracuse.

Blackman completed 27 of 43 passes (63 percent) for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Florida State’s 22-20 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday.

“I thought James did well in the game,” Taggart said. “I thought he did a good job of distributing the ball to his teammates. He had an interception where he got hit and maybe if he wouldn’t have got hit, he would have completed a ball over the linebacker there. I thought James played well enough for us to win.

“We didn’t execute in other areas that kind of cost us. There were some plays he could have made to help us, yeah, I think that’s each and every week.”

Alex Hornibrook did not play against Wake, one week after the coaching staff frequently alternated quarterbacks in the lopsided loss to Clemson. The graduate transfer from Wisconsin completed 72 percent of his passes for 655 yards, six touchdowns and an interception.

When asked specifically who would start against the Orange on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2), Taggart said “We’ll see Saturday.” That’s a similar line that he used leading up to the Wake Forest game on Thursday.

Taggart also referenced plays that Seminoles could have done to help Blackman. While not mentioning drops, Tamorrion Terry had a few against Wake.

“There was also some plays that some teammates could have helped, too, that could have been big plays,” Taggart said. “So it goes both hand in hand. But I thought overall James did well enough for us to win the ballgame.”

Injury updates

Taggart reiterated that receiver Ontaria Wilson will be “out for a while.” A few news outlets have reported that he has a shoulder injury. Taggart said that Baveon Johnson and Brady Scott are day-to-day.


Taggart said FSU’s coaches didn’t do anything different against Wake from a play-calling standpoint. He said he did not have a role in calling plays on Saturday.

“It hasn’t been different than any other thing I’ve done all year long,” Taggart said. “I’m always involved on both sides of the ball. I thought Kendal [Briles] called a good game.”

Filling in

One of the offensive linemen who stepped into a significant role on Saturday was true freshman Darius Washington, who took over at left tackle for Jauan Williams.

“He did some good things,” Taggart said. “I also thought he made some mistakes, which we thought he would make, being a freshman, his first game. We felt he would make some freshman mistakes, but we thought he would make a lot more plays for us than he did mistakes, and that’s what we felt he did in that game, and he’s only going to continue to get better.”

Lucas’ pregame antics

Another true freshman offensive lineman Dontae Lucas, was seen trash talking with Wake players before Saturday’s game. Lucas was pulled away by Taggart, who encouraged him not to do that again.

“He was being a jughead, and I went and let him know that that was unacceptable, and that’s not what we do,” Taggart said. “Those things you can’t do and he won’t do again.”

Kicking competition

Taggart has been frustrated with kicker Ricky Aguayo in the middle part of the season. After he pushed a field-goal attempt wide left with two minutes to go against Wake, a kick that could have put FSU ahead, Taggart indicated that the kickers will again be evaluated this week.

“We’re going to see how practice goes this week, and we’ll make a decision on Saturday,” Taggart said.

Miami-FSU kick time

ESPN has exercised a six-day option on Miami at FSU. The game will be played at 3:30 p.m. on ABC or ESPN or 7:30 p.m. on ABC. A decision will be made Sunday.


  1. Dan Densmore

    Ceiling for this team is 6-6. Why WT isn’t going with a seasoned vet with AH is beyond me. He was 26-6
    at Wisconsin and has played on the big stage numerous times. I see regression with JB under center. The narrative with the program is getting old. Hopefully they can turn this around, but I really have my doubts at this point.

  2. Patrick Burnham

    Dan, I agree that the offense functions better with Hornibrook at QB. You may be right about 6-6. My preseason run through the schedule had them at 8-4 in the best case scenario and 6-6 as the worst case scenario. After Wake I could see anything happening in the next three conference games.

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