Phil Knight has been in the world of sports all his life. He knows you win something and you lose a little. But what Knight does not like is playing. And the University of Oregon and its reinforcement n. 1 had just lost football coach Willie Taggart to the state of Florida.
Taggart is now a former Oregon coach.
Is it okay to untie?
Why the ducks? He did not structure Taggart's initial contract in a way that ensured that he would not easily use them as a trampoline is disconcerting. Knight can not be happy about that. Athletic director Rob Mullens said Tuesday about Taggart's defection: "I was disappointed, we sat down a year ago and we got engaged to him, he got engaged to us."
"We did everything we could to support our commitment. And I'm disappointed. "
The narrative will be that Taggart was 7-5 in his first season and he and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, harassed Oregon in a bidding war with the State of Florida that resulted in a period six years, $ 30 million windfall, but the reality is that the Ducks did not do enough to structure the original contract to protect themselves, that inept contract, and not a wonderful game of Camp Taggert poker, is what allowed The Ducks will leverage 19659002] Taggart is a mercenary, look at his history, he has qualified for four bowling games in his career, and he only trained in one of them, and three times he was screwed during the bowl season for a better job. In the last 365 days, Taggart has now been a trainer in three different programs (South Florida, Oregon and the state of Florida) .The ducks should have a better defense here, and although this will not cost Mullens their job in the UO, another result less than positive could be problematic. .
Mullens must obtain this rental right. Oregon mal n has some stability. And the next coach's contract must include protection that makes it impossible to leave in less than a calendar year in the deal. It was hard to think that Jimbo Fisher would leave and that work would be opened in the state of Florida, but it should have been an impossible move for Taggart to get rid of his five-year contract so easily in week 52.
Couldn & # 39; It has been an easy position for Mullens on Tuesday. He had to stand in front of the media and explain how everything went wrong. It was a difficult act. He looked in amazement. In fact, your whole weekend must have stunk. Because Oregon got caught in a situation where it was taken advantage of, and even if the ducks had retained Taggart this week, they were going to pay a premium and they would look foolish.
Now, a coaching search, right?
But first, a fact.
Let's be direct about what Oregon lost with Taggart's departure to Tallahassee. He was a great recruiter, but a game administrator who was routinely out of control. It was especially bad with the adjustments in the second half of the games against decent opponents. So, it's not Taggart, the coach, everyone is up in arms to lose. It's not even Taggart, the personality, even though he was a fun guy.
Do you know what bothers people the most about losing?
That kind of recruiting No. 1.
Because, for the first time in history, Oregon mattered in the national recruiting landscape in college football. The fans were selected to lose that class. Some of the UO staff was steamed about it. And losing that class has to hurt Mullens especially, because recruitment was the reason why he hired Taggart over coaches with better coaching records a year ago.
Mullens had the right project when he sought the replacement of Mark Helfrich. Mullens hid in Dallas, interviewing candidates last December. I wanted Eugene to be a destination for talent. I wanted a coach with a brilliant act in the living room. I wanted someone who could get involved in social networks. He wanted someone smart, warm and energetic. He needed the absolute best recruiter who could buy $ 2.9 million a year. And the plan was to raise another $ 4.5 million and surround the rent with gifted assistants such as defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal.
Correct plan. Smart plan It could have worked, too. Except Oregon got stupid at the end of the deal. He did not consider a transitory headhunter like Taggart represented by a fierce agent like Sexton to require shrewd contractual protection. It was a shot failure. One of those that Mullens is probably missing by getting lost.
People are upset because Taggart is essentially becoming an act first perfected by people like Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino. But that is what it is. He won seven games, the phone rang and he went to another challenge because his contract was too loose. But if we are being realistic about emotions, it is not Taggart who will really miss us. Rather, it's your recruiting class.
Oregon can recover from it. But Mullens and his team must make sure it does not happen again.
Mullens did not say it on Tuesday, but you should think that the Ducks will mobilize quickly to hire him. Include Kevin Sumlin, Mike Leach of Washington State, Gary Patterson of TCU and former Florida coach Jim McElwain as coaches of interest. He throws Bryan Harsin from Boise State there as well. In addition, others. Oregon is an attractive job. It just should not have been so easy.