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FAU Kicks Off Preseason Practice Under New Coach Willie Taggart

UCF FAU Football
in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

First-year FAU football coach Willie Taggart finally got to see his players take the field on Wednesday, after months of virtual meetings.

One of the team’s most high-profile players was not there, though.

Two-year starting quarterback Chris Robison recently left the program for reasons that remain a mystery.

Taggart simply said he looks forward to seeing how his other quarterbacks — redshirt juniors Nick Tronti and Justin Agner, redshirt freshman Javion Posey and true freshman Willie Taggart Jr. — perform during fall practice. He will then set a starter for Week 1.

“They are all No. 1 right now and all competing, and they are excited to compete for the job,” Taggart said. “I want to see what those guys can do because I have not had a chance to coach them yet. We finally get a chance to evaluate our guys, and normally get that chance during the spring, but could not.”

According to The Palm Beach Post, he did say that no players have opted out of the season due to the pandemic, which led to the cancellation of spring practice.

“We talked about it with our leadership council and made sure that we do a great job of educating our players to make a good decision for themselves,” Taggart explained.

Taggart, who is the former Florida State coach, is impressed with his new team.

“Going out there today, we got a lot done,” he said. “All of the quarterbacks, our transfers, our running backs and the defense … a lot of those guys are really impressive.

“First day there is usually a lot of mistakes. (Being restricted to Zoom calls) made us go out and execute practice a little more efficiently. They adjusted really well with not a lot of hiccups, and followed protocol and stayed upbeat. It’s been great for me to go into a program that has those qualities.”

In terms of dealing with COVID-19, Taggart said the Owls are trying to test all players weekly, and following CDC guidelines.

Although it remains to be seen when the Conference USA schedule will be released, Taggart says, “I’m hoping for a full season, but we want to make sure we are ready to go. We are listening to the rules and doing the best we can in keeping (the players) healthy to prepare them for a full season. When they tell us it is time for kickoff, we’ll be ready to go.”

Fox Sports 640 South Florida is the official radio partner of FAU Football. Go Owls!