Wear Red Week Begins with Taggart Talk

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University’ football team will play its third home game of the 2022 season this weekend, when the Owls play host to in-state opponent UCF on Saturday, Sept. 17 at FAU Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast by CBSSN as well as on Fox Sports 640 AM South Florida.

Owl fans are asked to wear RED for the game, which is the fourth meeting between the two schools and the second at FAU’s Boca Raton campus.


Each Monday, Hagerty Head Coach Willie Taggart host a call with local media to discuss the team. Here is today’s transcript:

On the offensive line performance
“We have some guys on the o-line that have played a lot of football together. I think experience by itself really helps. I think consistency and some of the things that we’re doing scheme wise is really helping. Those guys are just buying into the things that we’re doing and taking pride in it. They knew they were going to be the strength of our football team, and they’re taking pride in being that. I think Coach (Ed) Warriner has done a great job with those guys. Everybody is more on the same page and that is allowing us to be successful offensively.”

On Redshirt Freshman DE Jacob Merrifield
“He balled out. He has somebody blocking him, but he doesn’t stay blocked. He can get off a block and then go get an assist on a tackle or get a tackle. The other night, he made a play, we had just talked the week before about when you get blocked or you fall on the ground, get off the ground and get up and go. Sure enough, he had a tackle for a loss that he missed, but he got back up, ran and got in on the tackle later within the same play. Having a big guy being able to run sideline to sideline is always good and we’re going to need that from him.”

On facing UCF
“We have to play our game. There’s no secret potion or anything of that nature. We just have to play FAU football. We believe in what we’re doing, our guys have to trust their training and go out and play winning football. We can’t go out and beat ourselves, that’s for sure. They’re a good football team, but just like any other team that we have played, we have to be at our best and go out there and do what we have to do. We have them here. They put on pads just like our guys do. We just have to go out there and play good, smart, tough football. Owl football.”

On the key to beating UCF
“We all have to be on our A-Game: offense, defense, special teams. It’s a good football team coming in. Defensively, we have to be able to stop the run. They want to run the football. Being able to stop the run, and again, we understand the challenge that comes with it, but we’re up for the challenge. We’re looking forward to this game on Saturday, but again, it goes back to us, being on our A-Game and doing our jobs to the best of our ability. That’s the challenge for us as we go through the week, having the best practice that we can so that we can go out and perform the way we know how. For us, our players and coaches, we understand we still haven’t played our best. We’re challenging our guys each and every week to go out and see if we can do that, knowing that if we do, we’ll get really good results behind that. We have to play with fanatical effort. We have to take care of the football. We have to get the ball back. Those are keys.”

On what a win against UCF would do for FAU’s football program
“It would be a big win for us. Whenever you’re playing an in-state school, that’s always good, and a program like UCF, being able to have them at home, just for our ambitions and where we’re trying to go as a program. Whenever you can have a win like that, it’s always good. It’s just part of our goals of what we want to do. We want to win this ball game. We knew it was on the schedule and we’re preparing accordingly. We’re excited about it. It’s a great weekend and great opportunity, how could you not be fired up about it?”

On preparing for the loud home crowd
“Our guys know and understand that it’s going to be a little different environment, which is a good thing. It’s why they all decided to go to college and play. They want to play in an environment like that. I know our guys are excited about it. We just have to make sure we are able to stay focused throughout the entire game and throughout all of the other things that go on. I know once you’re out on the field, typically you don’t hear too much of anything else. You’re just focusing on your job and what’s at hand. It’ll be different, but it should be fun.”

On the secondary last week
“Guys played their assignments. They were so much better fundamentally in what we’re asking them to do. It paid off for us. I thought our guys did a good job of tackling, especially not allowing too many YACs (yards after catch). All of the fundamental things I talked about, I felt like our guys fixed them in the ball game, and we got better results behind it. Did we play perfect? No, we still have some things that we can correct and be better at, and that’s the beauty of each-and-every week of trying to get better and knowing that if you correct those mistakes and not make them again, you’re getting better. I was happy with our guys correcting those mistakes and helping us be better.”

On continuing their offensive consistency against UCF
“We want to be consistent offensively no matter who we’re playing. It’s important that you score points. It’s hard to win college football games without scoring. We’re going to need for our offense to continue to put up some points knowing that this is going to be a more challenging opponent than what we’ve had in the first three games, but our guys will be up for it. Our guys are confident in their ability and in what they’re able to do on offense.”


FAU Coaches Radio Show
For free mobile listening of all game broadcasts and coaches shows, FAU fans can download the Varsity Network app for iPhone or Android. The app features instant access to free gameday audio streams and the ability for fans to receive push notifications to remind them of games starting or upcoming audio broadcasts. Local fans can tune in to Hubbard Radio (Fox Sports South Florida 640 AM) to follow the team.

FAU Television Inside the Owls Burrow
This week’s show will include a sit down with Hagerty Family Head Football Coach Willie Taggart. Show host and producer Frank Forte and Taggart will review last week’s win over Southeastern Louisiana and this week’s showdown with in-state foe UCF. The show will air on Thursday and Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. on Bally Sports Florida. Hear from a mic’d up offensive line coach Ed Warinner as he puts his experience offensive line group through the practice paces. Jahmal Edrine is featured in “Pads Off”, plus catch up with inaugural team member and offensive lineman Chris Shepherd in “Where Are They Now.”


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