USF HC Willie Taggart's offense has roots in Stanford

Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

New South Florida coach Willie Taggart still uses lessons he learned on Stanford's offensive staff in his coaching schemes.

Any South Florida fan looking for optimism about their new head coach Willie Taggart need only to look Stanford's 55-21 win at USC in 2009, when Taggart was on a Cardinal offensive coaching staff that shocked the Trojans and the rest of the country with their innovative play-calling.

Taggart -- who was hired by the Bulls away from Western Kentucky, where he was the head coach the past three season -- was the running backs coach on that Stanford team under then-head coach Jim Harbaugh. While he's two jobs removed from his Cardinal days, he still brings that style of up-tempo play-calling to the field, something Bulls fans can look forward to in 2013, writes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

Taggart's starting running back that season was Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart, now with the Minnesota Vikings. Gerhart told Auman he's followed Taggart's career since, and spoke about the kind of offense Bulls fans can expect:

"He has a great offensive mind, and he's put his own twist on it," Gerhart said. "They can air it out if they want, but they take pride in running the ball. A lot of defenses nowadays are built for that spread offense. Stanford will line up with seven offensive linemen and dare you to stop the ball. They commit so many people to the box to stop the run that it opens up the play-action pass. It's tough to stop that, and that's the mind-set Coach Taggart wants in his players."

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