Monday’s Taggart Talk

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Despite riding the country’s fifth longest home winning streak at 12 games and knowing the last team to defeat Florida Atlantic University at home is this week’s opponent, Marshall, business was as usual for Hagerty Family Head Football Coach Willie Taggart, who stopped in for his Monday morning scheduled meeting with reporters. The Owls’ first practice of the week will be held Tuesday morning.

The Owls (5-3 overall and 3-1 in Conference USA) will play host to Marshall (5-3, overall and 3-1 in C-USA) this Saturday at 6 p.m. in a game that will be carried on CBS Sports Network (and CBSSN Facebook) as well as 640 AM WMEN.

Hagerty Family Head Football Coach Willie Taggart 
On the win against UTEP:
“That last two minutes and 10 seconds of the game was bad. Before that I thought our guys played well. It was disappointing but also encouraging because our guys still found a way to win the ballgame. It’s a good sign of a good football team when you don’t play as well as you can and still win the game against a really good football team. When you go back and look at the film, I thought our guys for the first three quarters and eight minutes did enough against UTEP.” 

On offensive efficiency:
“I thought in the first half against UTEP, we were very efficient on first down. We weren’t efficient on third down. We had a lot third and longs. We want to get back working on third downs.”

On the pressure of facing Marshall, who is undefeated at FAU Stadium:
“The pressure is the same as it was last weekend and any other week that we play. Our guys take pride in playing at home, and since Marshall’s undefeated here, something’s got to give. They know us well and we know them well, so it should be a really good ballgame.”

On the how the team responded to the ending of the UTEP game:
“We enjoyed that for 24 hours then we moved on. We didn’t finish the way we wanted but we got the win. We watched the film, looked at corrections and then moved on to Marshall. Got practice today, the guys were excited. They got here early and were excited. They know the importance of this ballgame and what it’s going to take to get the win.”

On redshirt sophomore running back Johnny Ford:
“He’s becoming more focused in practice and on his assignments and things he needs to do. He’s showing up on the football field. You get out there and put the ball in his hands and he’s making some plays. There’s some things he can get better as well. I still don’t think he’s reached his peak yet. But I just like where his head is, his mindset in practice and with teammates and about getting better with the entire offense.”

On scouting Marshall:
“Good, physical football team. Really talented football team. A lot of athletes on the team. The quarterback’s a really good football player and the freshman running back is a really good football player. He runs aggressively. Big up front on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively they’re very aggressive. I’m glad we have them at home.”

On playing physical against Marshall:
“We’ve just got to go play our ballgame and play the way that we want to play. We got to go play our game and have a great week of practice and understand the things we need to do in order to get the job done. Play with fanatical effort and play FAU football. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, I promise you that.”

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