Florida State University

FSU coach Willie Taggart uses this wrestling legend’s catch phrase about Clemson

Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, talks with offensive coordinator Kendal Briles in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Florida State defeated North Carolina State 31-13.
Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, talks with offensive coordinator Kendal Briles in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Florida State defeated North Carolina State 31-13. AP

Florida State hasn’t beaten Clemson since the 2014 college football season.

The Tigers won last year’s meeting in Tallahassee by 49 points.

So in Monday’s press conference with reporters, FSU coach Willie Taggart went old-school, wrestling style, when discussing Clemson.

“In order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man,” Taggart said. “Ric Flair, right? Nature Boy. Clemson is the man right now.”

The wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer’s catch phrase applies when discussing the FSU-Clemson rivalry as of late.

The Seminoles owned a decisive edge in the series during Bobby Bowden’s tenure in Tallahassee, which included 11 straight victories between 1992 and 2002.

However, Clemson’s rise to annual national title contender under Dabo Swinney has led to the Tigers controlling the series over the past four seasons, culminating with the 59-10 victory last October in Tallahassee.

In addition to quoting the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Taggart addressed who will start at quarterback — James Blackman or Alex Hornibrook — this Saturday when the Seminoles travel to Death Valley to face the No. 2-ranked Clemson Tigers.

“James [Blackman] will be our starter and they both will play,” Taggart said.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.
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