FAU Football: Owls travel to Western Kentucky in homecoming for head coach Willie Taggart

Taggart played Western Kentucky twice as a head coach, the first with Florida State and the second with FAU.


Photo courtesy of FAU Athletics.

Kevin Garcia, Staff Writer

Saturday’s game marks the first time that FAU football head coach Willie Taggart will face off against Western Kentucky University (WKU), his alma mater, in their home stadium in Bowling Green, Ky.

Taggart played all four years of his collegiate career at WKU as their quarterback under legendary coach Jack Harbaugh. Taggart was a standout player for their program and even had his number retired by them.

As a head coach, Taggart squared off with the Hilltoppers twice, once when he coached Florida State and the other with FAU. The latter resulted in a 10-6 win for the Owls. 

Dropped passes and miscommunications plagued the Owls throughout their previous game at Old Dominion. It’s safe to say that the offense will be a major point of contention in practice and in the film room this week.

“We [have] to continue to work and try to get it right. We lost the game as an entire football team,” Taggart said. “We got to be accountable to go out and correct those issues, we got to get all 11 guys [on offense] on the same page on every play consistently enough to be successful.” 

Over the last two weeks, FAU struggled to get going in the first half of their games scoring a combined 19 points in the first half against Marshall and Old Dominion. “Typically when we are not going fast, it seems like that’s when we struggle,” Taggart said. 

Running back Johnny Ford continues to be a bright spot for the Owls after a stellar game last week that saw him record 102 yards on 19 attempts to go with one touchdown. Taggart wants to see some of Ford’s teammates on offense step up around him. 

“I think he’s getting better each and every week,” Taggart said. “We need other guys to come along with him and help him do what he’s doing. We’ll all feel better about our offense and what our offense can do.” 

Taggart has respect for WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe. He knows that Zappe will be a tough matchup for the Owls’ defense. “Their quarterback is the real deal, [Zappe] will be playing on Sundays,” he said referring to NFL games on Sundays. 

Executing in the red zone was a point of contention for Taggart.

“We’re bad when we get down to the red zone, we [have] to be better in the red zone and get touchdowns instead of kicking field goals,” Taggart said. “That’s been our achilles heel; once we get down there, we don’t do anything with it. So [we’re] really focusing on how to finish those drives with touchdowns and not field goals.”

The game will be broadcast on Stadium at noon on Saturday, Nov. 20. 

Kevin Garcia is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him [email protected] or follow him on twitter @kevingar658.