Devastated Seminoles pledge to fix problems after defeat
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State senior tailback Jacques Patrick was visibly distraught, crying while being helped off the field following Saturday’s loss to rival Florida.
This came moments after a brief skirmish at midfield when Florida State players took exception to the Gators’ flag being planted in the middle of Doak Campbell Stadium.
The game stirred a lot of emotions, most of them negative for the Seminoles.
FSU’s 41-14 loss to No. 11 UF not only snapped a fivegame win streak against the Gators and a 36-year bowl streak but also featured familiar mistakes at a time when the Seminoles simply could not afford to make them.
“Disappointing game. Disappointing season. I think everybody in that locker room is hurting,” FSU coach Willie Taggart said after the loss. “And again, it’s unacceptable here at Florida State. I said it before, we got a program that prides itself on winning and we didn’t get it done.”
Quarterback Deondre Francois choked back tears as well as he spoke after going 14-of-29 passing for 154 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“Right now, it hurts. It cuts deep right now,” he said. “I went to a bowl game every year that I’ve been here. It hurts not to go to a bowl game. I don’t think I’ve ever not seen Florida State in a bowl game since I’ve been alive. To end the bowl streak and me be the starting quarterback, it just hurts. It’s not a good feeling for me, my family, my teammates, the fans. It’s just not a good feeling right now.”
Entering the game, FSU knew what was at stake.
The Seminoles knew about the legacy of teams before them. They knew they wanted to avoid being the only FSU team in the modern era to miss a bowl game.
According to Taggart, that made the loss to UF that much harder to swallow. “It was really tough and a lot of tears and guys were hurting,” he said. “We wanted to get it done and we didn’t. So it’s frustrating, disappointing, and again guys are hurting.”
While their pride is hurt, Taggart said the team must lick its wounds and move on. He added the Seminoles need fans to stick by them now more than ever.
“Tell them to have faith,” Taggart said when asked what he would tell FSU fans. “Again, that’s why I was brought here — to build this program back to where it belongs, and I understand their disappointment.
“And I tell all our fans they should be disappointed. This is Florida State University, and I tell them all don’t ever lose our and what want.
“… So I apologize for the season being the way it is, but we’re going to get there. And it’s not a panic situation, it’s a work situation. We’re going to work to get there and we’re not going to make any excuses about it and we’re going to go get it done.”
Francois echoed these sentiments and said it has to be the last time the Seminoles suffer a losing season.
“[We have to] regroup. Take a look in the mirror, regroup, and just do what we have to do to not feel this way again,” he said.
For Taggart, it will be his first full offseason as head coach, meaning he’ will be able to go out and recruit. He said the evaluation process starts Saturday night as he looks to make necessary corrections and adjustments.
“We’ve got to go to work,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about anything that happened now other than work and see to it that we don’t feel that way again. And we do that by changing some things up. We can’t keep doing the same thing and think we’re going to get different results behind it. But again it goes back to me evaluating our entire football team, our entire program and putting the right people in place to get it done.” expectation we
TALLAHASSEE — When Florida State (5-7) lost this season, too often the Seminoles lost big.
FSU’s 41-14 loss to No. 11 Florida (9-3) was the Gators’ largest margin of victory in the series since Nov. 28, 2009. The Seminoles’ 28-27 loss to Miami was the closest setback of the season, but the next closest was a 47-28 loss to NC State.
Six of FSU’s seven losses were by a margin of at least 19 points.
FSU coach Willie Taggart said he blames neither the talent nor physicality of his team. Taggart points, instead, to the emotional trials of rebuilding a program.
“A lot of it is mental,” Taggart said. “That’s part of changing the culture and getting to that point. I said it at the beginning of the year that the thing I was concerned about with our football team is how we deal with adversity. I’ve seen that from afar that we didn’t handle that well. That’s a big part of our problem is when things don’t go our way, then we didn’t respond the right way.”
FSU’s offensive production was the glaring issue. With 12 minutes remaining before halftime against UF, the Seminoles had mustered only five passing yards.
Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois finished 14-of-29 passing for 154 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on Saturday. Turnovers and penalties, one of which nullified a 70-yard touchdown pass to Cam Akers, crushed FSU.
“The first interception: That’s where the game turned,” Francois said while fighting back tears. “We were going in to score, going into our red zone and then I threw a pick because we’re not detailed enough. We’re not on the same page, which we should be at this point in the season. It’s just sad that it had to end this way.”
Senior Day: For the FSU senior class, the loss to Florida will sting for a while.
Seniors Nyqwan Murray, Jacques Patrick and Alec Eberle were a part of what remained from Florida State’s elite teams during former coach Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. They are left to hope the team they leave behind will rally next season.
“I told them I love them; I appreciate them,” Taggart said of the seniors. “They didn’t ask for this change but they bought into what we asked them to do and those guys, they fought all year to try to help us get the program back right. I appreciate every single one of them for that because I wasn’t the coach that brought them here, but they loved this place and they bought into it.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t finish it the way we wanted to for those guys.”
Florida State coach Willie Taggart talks with defensive backs Stanford Samuels III (8) and Asante Samuel Jr. (26) during the Seminoles’ loss to the Gators Saturday.