Florida State University

What did Florida State Seminoles coach Willie Taggart say about the Miami Hurricanes?

The annual rivalry game between Miami and Florida State takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.

Growing up an FSU fan, Seminoles coach Willie Taggart is well-versed with the history surrounding the game.

On Monday, Taggart spoke about the Hurricanes during his news conference.

Here’s what he said about how the rivalry with UM has changed:

“Miami won the last two, and that’s how it’s changed. And we need to see what we can do to stop that. Rivalries are rivalries. Big game. You can throw the records out. ... You’ve got to come out ready to play that game and be focused that entire game. Focused on executing the game plan, not necessarily the opponent and all the trash talk and all that stuff that goes with it. You’ve got to stay locked into what we’ve got to get done and that’s what it’s going to require to win games like this.”

On the Canes defense:

“They have some talented players on that side of the ball. Very skilled in the secondary. Veteran linebackers, who have played a lot of football together, and an athletic defensive line. So they have the athletes on that side of the ball and they’re aggressive with them. They play man coverage, and they have a defensive end that’s pretty active in rushing the passer. So they play well, they play well together. They run to the ball. They create takeaways.”

Reflecting back to his first time coaching in the rivalry game, at Miami last year, after growing up an FSU fan:

“I guess I had a lot of different emotions in that game. Coming in, exciting. You know what you’re going to get out of it. Then from the game standpoint, we’re up and then we’re down. So I had a lot different emotions. But it was fun. You knew what to expect. To me, it wasn’t different than I was as a fan and not being here in wanting to beat them. I wanted to beat them bad. Still the same. Want to beat them. Hate losing to Miami. Hate it. It sucks.”

On the possibility of facing multiple quarterbacks from the Canes:

“I don’t think they get too far away from their offense with either guy that’s in there at quarterback. So they’re going to run their offense, and whichever quarterback’s in there, we have to be ready for.”

On the difference in approach for a rivalry game compared to a regular game:

“It’s different because it’s a rival, and a lot of guys know each other on those teams. A lot of them probably played high school ball with them and grew up with them, so that makes it different. It’s a game. It’s a different game. I mean, our fanbase, everybody is crazy about these games. So yeah, I think it is different in certain ways. I don’t necessarily think you go about it different from a game planning standpoint. But I think with our team and our approach, we’ve got to understand, again, where our focus needs to be. ... And what it’s going to take to win a rivalry game.”

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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.