Florida State coach Willie Taggart asked fans to stick with him and the football program during his weekly news conference Monday, after a rocky 1-2 start has raised questions about where the Seminoles are headed.
"Our fans have every right to have high expectations of our program," said Taggart, who is in his first season at Florida State. "And I can assure you that no one has higher expectations than I do. We have a proud history and tradition of football at FSU and it is on our shoulders to carry on the torch, and our fans, students, alumni, former players deserve a team that plays better than what we have so far this season.
"Our program has some tremendous young men who are determined to get it fixed and who are committed to turning this around and a group of coaches who are looking at everything, including ourselves."
Florida State lost to Syracuse 30-7 over the weekend. Combined with a 24-3 loss to Virginia Tech to open the season, the Seminoles have scored just 10 points against FBS competition and rank No. 126 in the nation in offensive efficiency.
Taggart replaced Jimbo Fisher in December and promised his offense would deliver "lethal simplicity," but so far it has been grounded. One of the big issues has been the play of the offensive line, and that group got more bad news Monday. Taggart said starting right tackle Derrick Kelly will be out against Northern Illinois this Saturday with a leg injury. Kelly was moved to tackle to replace starter Landon Dickerson, who is out indefinitely after injuring his ankle against Virginia Tech.
With an offensive line unable to protect the quarterback or run block consistently, the Seminoles' two best players on offense -- quarterback Deondre Francois and running back Cam Akers -- have been ineffective. Given the way Florida State has played, Taggart has taken a great deal of criticism over the past three weeks.
Taggart rebuilt programs at Western Kentucky and USF, though he went 2-10 in Year 1 at both schools. But the national profile, and the expectations, are much higher at Florida State.
"I am confident that we will get it done," Taggart said. But all the words and coaching clichés and insistence that we must do better won't help us play better. That comes in the form of coaching. That is why we coach. It is on me and our assistants to get this right, and we will. I believe in this team. I believe this team will get it done."
He closed his news conference with this:
"Once again, I believe in this football team and I believe they are going to get it right. We are all going to get it right. Hang in there with us. Go Noles!"