Oregon coach Willie Taggart deflected questions about his future during a brief press conference today prior to taking the field with his team for the first time since the Ducks defeated Oregon State in the Civil War last Saturday.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Taggart is high up on the list of Florida State's potential targets to replace Jimbo Fisher, who this morning accepted the coaching job with Texas A&M. But Taggart refused to address such rumors, choosing instead to tell reporters to go ask those who are spreading the rumors.
When asked directly if he would remain at Oregon, Taggart responded: "Why wouldn't I be? I'm the football coach. You guys keep asking me that like you're trying to get me out of here."
He did state that he and his agent have not been contacted by Florida State.
Soon after, Taggart asked the media if they could "move on" from such questions. They did not. Such questions continued and Taggart continued to give more non-answers.
Taggart said that he addressed his team about the rumors regarding his future.
"I addressed it with the team as soon as I got back from recruiting," he said. "I used it as a teaching moment on how social media works, how rumors work."
Tensions are high at Oregon. According to a source, the program is bracing for the worst cased scenario.
Taggart leaving would place Oregon in a horrible position. Taggart was in the process of delivering a recruiting class ranked No. 1 by Scout.com and No. 5 by both Rivals.com and 247sports.com.
His departure would undoubtedly impact the quality of that class. Also, Oregon will be left scrambling to find an adequate replacement. UO found it difficult last year to replace Mark Helfrich and ended up hiring Taggart only after several other candidates rejected Oregon, including former UO coach Chip Kelly now the coach at UCLA.
However, Central Florida coach Scott Frost turned down an offer from Florida and has not yet taken the vacant Nebraska job, which is reportedly his for the taking. The former offensive coordinator could be a top target for Oregon now that Taggart is gone.
Oregon could also revisit Jim McElwain, the former Florida coach fired this month. He was a top target of Oregon last year and, according to sources, agreed to become the next Ducks coach only to back out of that agreement days later.
Another strong option would be to promote from within by elevating defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt or co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal. Both have been head coaches in the past. Leavitt had great success at South Florida where he went 95-57 over 13 seasons. Cristobal coached Florida International for six years before being fired with a 27-47 record.
Or, maybe none of that is necessary. Sources have confirmed that Taggart has not received an offer from FSU. Maybe he won't. Or, maybe Oregon will match any offer. There is also a possibility that Taggart decides he is better off staying at Oregon.
The next few days promise to be quite interesting.