Willie Taggart

BREAKING: Willie Taggart is leaving Oregon for Florida State

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USA Today

BREAKING: Willie Taggart is leaving Oregon for Florida State

Willie Taggart is leaving the Oregon Ducks after one season to become the next coach at Florida State, according to a source. 

Taggart informed the team during a 1:15 p.m.  team meeting. 

Co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal will serve as the interim head coach for Oregon's Dec. 16 game against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. It is being reported that defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will follow Taggart to Florida State. 

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens issued the following statement: “We thank Willie for his efforts at Oregon, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future. I am grateful to Mario Cristobal for his willingness to step up and lead our program through our upcoming bowl game. The University of Oregon is a high-caliber academic institution with one of the premier college football programs in the country, and we are confident that we will find another outstanding coach to lead our tremendous group of student-athletes into the future."

Mullens will hold a press conference today at 4 p.m.

Taggart met with FSU officials on Monday after being contacted by the Seminoles Sunday night. The meeting came after Taggart and co-offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo met with four-star quarterback recruit Tyler Shough in Chandler, Ariz.  

Taggart will replace Jimbo Fisher who has accepted a 10-year, $75 million contract to coach Texas A&M.  

Bruce Feldman also reported the news. 

According to sources, Taggart has agonized over the decision. But in the end, Florida State has always been his dream job and he couldn't pass up the opportunity. 

Taggart's move places 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 will 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 being turned down by several prospective coaches, including former UO coach Chip Kelly now the coach at UCLA. 

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. 

Other potential candidates include California coach Justin Wilcox and former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. 

 

SOURCE: Oregon coach Willie Taggart to meet with Florida State officials

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USA Today

SOURCE: Oregon coach Willie Taggart to meet with Florida State officials

Developing story.

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Oregon coach Willie Taggart has been contacted by Florida State and will meet today with Seminoles officials to discuss the possibility of becoming the program's next football coach, according to a source close to the situation. 

The same source stated early Sunday evening that the first-year Ducks coach had not yet heard from Florida State despite many rumors to the contrary. According to the source, the expected eventual contact came late Sunday night. Many reports have named Taggart as one of Florida State's top targets to replace Jimbo Fisher, who resigned Friday to become the next coach at Texas A&M. 

Taggart met with media in Eugene on Sunday afternoon to discuss the Ducks (7-5) being selected to face Boise State (10-3) in the Dec. 16 Las Vegas Bowl. During that media session, Taggart said that he planned to fly out of Eugene that evening to begin recruiting.  That trip will now include a meeting with Florida State officials. 

According to sources, Taggart told the team on Friday that Florida State is his dream job and that if they made an offer he would listen. However, other sources say that it is not a slam dunk that Taggart would accept an offer from Florida State despite the fact that he is from Palmetto, Fla., and grew up as a fan of the Seminoles. 

Taggart's trip has included a stop in Arizona to meet with four-star quarterback recruit Tyler Shough, who put out this tweet this morning:

(more to come)

 

Willie Taggart has rejected two programs, but FSU remains an unknown

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USA Today

Willie Taggart has rejected two programs, but FSU remains an unknown

Oregon Ducks fans are eagerly, and in many cases frustratingly, waiting for Ducks coach Willie Taggart to announce his intentions. 

They want answers and they want them now. Unfortunately for them, they want answers to questions that don't yet exist while Taggart is taking a stance that is best for him from a business standpoint. And let's not forget that college football is a business. 

That said, here is the latest: According to a source close to the situation, Florida State has not contacted Taggart or his agent Jimmy Sexton at all, let alone to extend a contract offer to replace Jimbo Fisher, who on Friday left FSU to become the coach at Texas A&M.

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The source also stated that Taggart has rejected inquiries from two other programs. One program, the source stated, offered Taggart a contract larger than the extension of five-years, $18 million that Oregon preemptively placed before him last week. The second, and more prominent, program, according to the source, reached out to Taggart and his agent in order to gauge the coach's interest but was flatly turned down before an offer was made. 

Meanwhile, Taggart remains largely mum on the subject of his future. Taggart met with the media this afternoon to discuss the team being selected to play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16 against Boise State (10-3). Of course, Taggart was asked if he would still be around to coach in the bowl game.

"Why wouldn't I be?" Taggart responded, once again not saying "yes" or "no" to a direct question about his future.

When pressed regarding the rumors involving Florida State's reported interest in him and making a decision, Taggart responded: "There's no decision to be made."

That's because, it appears, there has been no offer from FSU to weigh. 

Taggart, during the press conference, detailed the team's plan to prepare for the game with this week being finals week, and stated that following tonight's team banquet he would board a plane to head out to recruit.  

It is understandable that Oregon fans would be frustrated by the situation. Florida State, a more prestigious program than Oregon, is Taggart's dream job. He grew up in Palmetto, Fla., a Seminoles fan. During a trip to his hometown to film the TAGGART documentary for NBC Sports Northwest, our crew went with him to his friend's barbershop. There, he engaged in a debate about the prominence of FSU, Florida and Miami. Taggart stood squarely in FSU's corner.

So, Ducks that want to see Taggart remain at UO should be afraid he could leave for the sunshine state should FSU pursue him. However, to expect Taggart to respond to every "report" and rumor about his situation is foolhardy. 

There have also been "reports" that Taggart was spotted on FSU's campus on Saturday. However, given that Taggart attended his son's high school basketball game Friday night in Eugene, he would have needed to use the Millennium Falcon (the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs) in order to make it to Tallahassee, Fla., and back to Eugene in time to conduct Saturday morning's practice, which he was present for. 

Taggart tweeted the following Saturday evening:

The response to this tweet was stunning. Some made it out to be a sign that he is committed to Oregon. Others pointed out that while at South Florida, Taggart tweeted something similar days before Oregon hired him. Others have stated that he shouldn't have tweeted his statements at all because they only created more speculation. 

"I can't even tweet anymore without it being [interpreted] as [meaning] something else," Taggart said today. 

The bottom line is that his tweet was 100 percent the truth. As of Saturday night Taggart had a practice on Sunday, the team found out today what bowl game it would play in, and Taggart will get on a plane Sunday evening to head out to do some recruiting. 

That's all he said and that's all he meant. It's a tweet that would be expected from him as the coach of the Oregon Ducks. Just because there are rumors that he might be offered another job do not mean that he should suddenly stop operating as the coach of the Ducks. 

For this perspective, Taggart is handling this situation the best way he can to keep the door open for a potential offer from FSU while maximizing his potential leverage with Oregon. Let's review the various aspects of the situation at hand:

1. Taggart can't determine his future without knowing what options exist: Frustrated Oregon fans want Taggart to flatly state that he isn't leaving Oregon if that's the case. But by doing so he would only be responding to reports or comments from unnamed sources and those supposedly in the know. He shouldn't be required to do so, especially if he has no offer from FSU to even consider. He is better off avoiding the question altogether. If he says he isn't leaving Oregon now but receives an offer later that he ends up accepting, then he would be branded a liar. He certainly can't state that he is leaving without an offer in hand. And he'd be crazy to even state that he would consider an offer from FSU, again, simply because it is rumored that he might receive one. 

2. Taggart is looking out for Taggart, and rightfully so: Taggart is a one-man corporation. His top responsibilities are to that corporation and his family. Oregon is a business partner, one that could fire him at any second, just like it did the previous staff. Don't think for a minute that coaches don't pay attention to how programs have treated their former staffs. Taggart has never been to a national title game or won a conference title like the previous staff did. He saw how Oregon blew out that staff after one losing season just two years removed from a national title run. So he knows that if he doesn't perform at a very high level, he could easily get fired in the not-to-distant future. That is not a "family" relationship. That is a business relationship, one that Taggart is looking to squeeze for as much as he can while he can. 

2. Taggart is controlling his potential leverage: Someone asked Taggart on Friday if he would sign the extension Oregon offered last week. Taggart said that he would when everything was right with the offer. Even if Taggart has zero interest in leaving Oregon right now, it is in his best interest to at least field other offers in order to leverage Oregon into a larger contract offer. The current extension came after he received an offer from another program. Stating that he won't leave under any circumstances would shift the leverage back to Oregon, which has to be desperate to keep him given the promise he has shown and that he is an established elite recruiter. Right now, Taggart is open for business and is willing to field other offers and then weigh them against a potential counteroffer from Oregon. 

4. The Scott Frost factor: Don't think for a minute that Taggart and his agent didn't take note of the reported seven-year, $35 million contract offer Nebraska just extended to Frost, who has been a head coach for two seasons. Granted, Frost did a great job rebuilding Central Florida in just two years and has the Knights at 13-0. But Taggart has rebuilt two programs, defeated Frost last year while at South Florida, just had a strong first season at a Power Five program and is about to pull in a top-five recruiting class. Keep in mind that Taggart received most of the commitments in the 2018 class before this season began and with the Ducks coming off of a 4-8 season under the previous staff. That's an amazing recruiting job, one never before seen in the state of Oregon, maybe even the Northwest. 

Yet, Taggart has an $18 million offer in hand while Frost just received $35 million. Something is wrong with that picture. 

If FSU comes calling for Taggart, the Ducks might have to raise their offer to more like $25 million over five years. 

5. Taggart doesn't owe Oregon a discount: This will all end when either FSU hires a coach not named Taggart or he receives on offer from Florida State. If an offer comes his way, Taggart's agent would be able to go back to Oregon with a number and see if the Ducks would be willing to pay enough to keep him from leaving. It is quite possible that Taggart has plenty of reasons not to go to FSU. He has a good thing going at Oregon. He is athletic director Rob Mullen's handpicked guy, so Taggart knows that the man in charge has a vested interest in his success and likely has his back. There is also the Phil Knight factor. Plus, if Taggart could consistently land top 10 recruiting classes then it might not matter where he is coaching in terms of pursuing a national title, thus negating the idea that one would come quicker at FSU. One source close to Taggart said that he didn't believe Taggart would leave UO simply for the sake of going to Florida State, 6-6 this season, even though his family, including his mother, still reside there. Other factors would be considered, including the overall atmosphere and support he Florida State offered. It is not a slam dunk that Taggart would jump at any offer from FSU. 

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In conclusion: Relax, people. Let this all play out. The process is going to take days, not weeks. But these are days in which Taggart is better served taking his time to weigh his options rather than make a rash decision in order to appease fans whose angst has been fueled by a rumor mill run amok.  

Taggart offers little clarity regarding future at UO

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USA Today

Taggart offers little clarity regarding future at UO

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."

Si.com has reporting that Taggart on FSU's short list along with Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente. FootballScoop.com reports that FSU is "expected" to offer Taggart a contract. 

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. 

Oregon and FSU fans take to Twitter to sweet talk Taggart

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USA Today

Oregon and FSU fans take to Twitter to sweet talk Taggart

Updated: Shortly after this post was published it was reported that Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher will become the next coach at Texas A&M. 

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Oregon coach Willie Taggart hasn't even received an offer to interview at Florida Sate but that hasn't stopped Oregon fans from taking to Twitter to ask him to stay put should one come his way. 

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher had been reportedly at least flirting with the idea of leaving the Seminoles to become the new coach at Texas A&M and the situation in Tallahassee, Fla., has reportedly become toxic.

Then today, it was being reported that Fisher indeed will head to Texas A&M.  This makes it conceivable that FSU could go after Taggart. However, that link is mostly due to the fact that Taggart was born and raised in Palmetto, Fla.  Nothing else. There is nothing to go on that says Taggart would receive an offer from FSU let alone be a top candidate for the position should it become available. 

All of the speculation and uncertainty has led UO and FSU fans to take to Twitter in an effort to woo Taggart. 

Here are some of the Tweets Oregon fans have sent Taggart's way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the Tweets FSU fans have sent Taggart's way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willie Taggart to Florida State isn't a thing, yet

Willie Taggart to Florida State isn't a thing, yet

Oregon coach Willie Taggart's name has been tossed around as a candidate for several jobs with one important variable missing: Not one program has stepped forward with an actual job offer.

Well, at least not one that has been made public. Not yet. 

Should Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher bolt to become Texas A&M's next coach, Oregon fans would be more than justified in fearing that Taggart could end up in FSU's sights. Despite Taggart having made it clear on several occasions that he is happy at Oregon, it remains difficult to believe that he would flat out reject a job offer from the Seminoles. He would certainly listen, according to a source. 

Taggart grew up in Palmetto, Fla.  He made a name for himself as a coach in the state of Florida by rebuilding South Florida before taking over Oregon's program last December. During his coaching journey, he has fantasized about coaching at a major program in his home state. The Seminoles would likely offer more money than what Oregon is paying Taggart even after the Ducks, who sources confirmed, recently offered Taggart a raise in hopes of keeping him in Eugene, as first reported by SI.com. 

All that being said, there is no guarantee that Taggart would bail on the Ducks if FSU came calling. 

Taggart has something rolling with the Ducks. He has a top-five recruiting class on the way. He has a superstar quarterback in sophomore Justin Herbert. He will return 14 starters from a 7-5 team that could have flirted with 10 wins (counting a bowl victory) had Herbert not missed five games with a broken collarbone. Taggart has a strong relationship with Oregon director of athletics Rob Mullens. Taggart had his new home in Eugene remodeled. His two oldest children have just settled into their new routines and schools with new friends. Plus, if Taggart left, what would he do with the 30-plus pairs of green and yellow Nike shoes he already has in his closet? 

A source close to Taggart said over the weekend that he didn't believe the coach would leave Oregon after just one season no matter which program came after him, even if it were Florida State, Miami or Florida. Another source close to Taggart said the former Western Kentucky coach would only leave Oregon for a clearly better situation, not one because it's simply in the state of Florida.

Right now, Taggart has a good thing going at UO. He has no reason to go looking for another job. The question is, what will happen if that dream job comes looking for him?

We won't know for sure until that happens. So far, it hasn't. 

It could be a very long time before Oregon loses another Civil War

It could be a very long time before Oregon loses another Civil War

EUGENE - Remember this date: Nov. 26, 2016. 

That was the last time Oregon State won a Civil War game. It wasn't that long ago. Only a year. But that date could have legs. 

Oregon whipped OSU 69-10 tonight in the 121st Civil War at Autzen Stadium. The score very much reflected the disparity between the two programs. So much so that UO coach Willie Taggart dropped some smack talk afterwards by saying that the Ducks, who led 52-7 at halftime, wore raincoats at the end of this game because "it was raining touchdowns."

Taggart was making a reference to statements made during the week by OSU interim coach Cory Hall, who recalled the second half of OSU's victory last year when the rain came and Oregon's players began putting on raincoats while the Beavers welcomed the elements. Hall said he knew then that the Beavers would win. And they did, 34-24, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the 121-game series. It might be a long time before OSU defeats UO again.

The trajectory of the two programs couldn't be anymore contrasting. Oregon has a young, rising star coach in Taggart, who happens to be a recruiting dynamo. Oregon State saw its so-called savior coach, Gary Andersen, quit mid-season and is now scrambling to find its next leader. 

The Ducks (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) rebounded quickly from a 4-8 season a year ago that ended with the loss in Corvallis. The Beavers (1-11, 0-9), whose fans stormed the field following the upset victory, believed that  their fortunes were about to change. Instead, the program regressed in Andersen's third year. OSU last won just one game in 1995 (1-10).

Oregon has a potentially limitless ceiling. The Ducks' 2018 recruiting class ranks No. 1 on Scout.come and No. 6 on both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com.  OSU's class ranks 79th on Rivals.  A new coach could change that but he won't be able to get the Beavers into the top 30, let alone top 10.  The talent disparity between the two programs that was on display tonight will continue to grow. 

Oregon gained 577 yards compared to 211 for Oregon State. 

Of course, strange things could happen.  Maybe a new OSU coach will hit big on an elite quarterback while Oregon is left scrambling after Justin Herbert, four touchdown passes tonight, moves on to the NFL in the next couple of years. Maybe Taggart bolts for another program soon and a new coach falters in recruiting, setting the table for Oregon State to pounce. 

Anything could happen. But after Saturday night's beatdown - the largest margin of victory in this series - it's difficult to walk away not believing that at least another eight-game Civil War winning streak for the Ducks has already begun. 

 

Ducks need Civil War victory more than Oregon State

Ducks need Civil War victory more than Oregon State

The Oregon Ducks should win today's Civil War with great ease. They own virtually every matchup over Oregon State. 

However, these games rarely play out based on matchups and probability. So, the 25-point underdog Beavers do have a puncher's chance of pulling off an upset, or at the very least, making the game close. 

However the 121st Civil War plays out today at Autzen Stadium (4 p.m. on ESPN2), the Ducks (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) must win. They cannot afford to blow this. The Ducks need this win even more than the Beavers do. 

Oregon is building toward something strong next season under coach Willie Taggart. Finishing off the year at 8-5 with a win today and then a bowl victory after losing sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert for five games (1-4 during that stretch) would provide a strong catapult into next year with 14 starters returning. 

Plus, on a weekend when it has been announced that former UO coach Chip Kelly has become the new coach at UCLA, Ducks nation might not be able to also endure a humiliating Civil War defeat. 

Oregon State (1-10, 0-8) could use the win, as well. Nothing could sooth such a disastrous season like upsetting the Ducks. But, OSU accomplished that last season at home by winning 34-24 to snap an eight-game Civil War losing streak only to blow that mojo with a follow-up season with only one win coming against 0-11 Portland State. 

The Beavers reportedly already have a new direction in place and will hire Cal offensive coordinator and former Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin to run the program. Hiring the quarterback guru is a great move for OSU. So, even if the Beavers get blasted today they will have something to celebrate very soon when Baldwin takes over for interim coach Cory Hall. 

What needs to happen today for Oregon is that it makes easy work of the Beavers. End it early. Get in about 10 Swag Surfin' moments. Play a lot of guys. Have fun with no trepidation. 

The UO players have been reminded of last year's Civil War loss in almost torturous fashion. Taggart has had the "low-lights," as he calls them, played over and over for his team to view and remind them of how bad things got last season. 

A dominant win today could remind the Ducks of how good things could be in the future. 

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Oregon vs. Oregon State

When: 4 p.m., Saturday, Autzen Stadium, Eugene.  

T.V.: ESPN2. 

Betting line: Oregon by 25.

Records: Ducks (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), Oregon State (1-10, 0-8).

Last week: Oregon took down Arizona (7-4, 5-3), 48-28. OSU lost 40-24 at home to Arizona State (6-5, 5-3) 

Coaches: Ducks' Willie Taggart (46-50, 6-5 at Oregon); Oregon State's Cory Hall (0-5).

Fear factor (five-point scale): 0. Oregon has the advantage in just about every imaginable facet of the game. A loss would be disastrous for Oregon and put a major damper on an otherwise promising season. 

The Beavers won last year behind a punishing running game led by Ryan Nall that no longer exists. However, one must consider the fact that OSU took Stanford to the wire in a 15-14 loss while the Cardinal destroyed Oregon, 49-7. Then again, Stanford played OSU without running back Bryce Love and Oregon played Stanford without Herbert, so scratch all of that nonsense. 

Today's game is all Oregon. 

Game prediction: Oregon 57, Oregon State 27.  

Taggart shoots down speculation that he wants out of Oregon

Taggart shoots down speculation that he wants out of Oregon

EUGENE - Oregon coach Willie Taggart hasn't been able to escape the rumors that he could be headed to Florida or that he simply wants out of coaching the Ducks. 

The latter was posed to him following UOs 48-28 win Saturday over Arizona at Autzen Stadium and the first-year UO coach immediately shot it down. 

"Do I look unhappy?" he said with a smile. "I'm not addressing anymore rumors. You might have to ask that guy who put that rumor out there."

"That guy" is ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski, who on television stated that he was hearing that Taggart wanted out of Oregon. 

Taggart has stated repeatedly that he isn't going anywhere. At least not this season. Rumors swirled last week within the college football world that Taggart could land at Florida after the Gators fired coach Jim McElwain. Taggart is from Palmetto, Fla., and coached at South Florida before taking the Oregon job last December. 

While it must be noted that virtually every coach that has ever left a program at some point avoided a question regarding his plans or flat out said he wasn't leaving and then did in fact leave, the reality is that there has been no concrete evidence or reporting that indicates that Taggart is a prime candidate at any program that could be viewed as being more desirable than Oregon. 

Sources: Herbert cleared to play against Arizona following X-ray

Sources: Herbert cleared to play against Arizona following X-ray

Oregon sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert, who missed five games with a broken left collarbone, has been cleared to play Saturday against Arizona, according to multiple sources. 

A source told NBC Sports Northwest on Tuesday that Herbert was taking first-team reps and would likely start, as reported that night on Talkin' Ducks. However, Oregon coach Willie Taggart that same day said during an interview that Herbert would undergo an X-ray later in the week to determine his availability. 

On Thursday, Brett McMurphy tweeted that sources had told him that Herbert would start against the Wildcats (7-3, 5-2). However, according to a source, Herbert's availability wasn't 100 percent certain until Friday when an x-ray revealed that Herbert's collarbone had indeed fully healed. But, it was pretty much a done deal that he would return this week unless he suffered a set back. In fact, Herbert, a source said, might have been able to play last Saturday had the Ducks (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) not been on an off week.  

The injury was believed to require six to eight weeks to heal. Saturday will mark seven weeks since Herbert injured his collarbone while rushing for a seven-yard touchdown in the first quarter against California. That score gave the Ducks a 17-0 lead. They went on to win 45-24. 

However, in the five weeks without Herbert the Ducks (5-5, 2-5 Pac-12) went 1-4 with freshman Braxton Burmeister starting at quarterback. In his six appearances - counting the Cal game - Burmeister completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns with six interceptions. Oregon defeated Utah 41-20 two games ago but found it very difficult to score in four losses, falling 33-10 to Washington State, 49-7 at Stanford, 31-14 at UCLA and 38-3 at Washington.  

Herbert's return makes it quite possible that the Ducks could win their final three games and finish the season with an 8-5 record.