WATCH: Willie Taggart, Oct. 10
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There could be at least one familiar face in Florida State’s offensive line when the Seminoles play at Clemson on Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC).
There might even be two.
Speaking with reporters before a Thursday-morning practice, FSU head coach Willie Taggart said that Jauan Williams, the fifth-year senior left tackle who has missed the last three-plus games with an injury, will be available to play against the Tigers.
That didn’t come as too much of a surprise – Williams practiced with the team last week in advance of their open date, and continued as a full participant this week.
Taggart did, however, drop something of a surprise a moment later when he said that Cole Minshew, another fifth-year senior lineman, would be available as well. With 23 career starts, Minshew is one of FSU’s most experienced players at any position, but injuries have conspired to keep him out of the lineup for the Seminoles’ previous eight games dating back to last season.
The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Minshew did not participate in spring or fall camp, but he did return to practice earlier this week.
“He got some good reps in there,” Taggart said. “It was good to see him get in there and move some people around and playing football again. I’m happy for Cole.
“Cole is like Jauan, he’s available too.”
With Minshew having missed so much time, FSU could opt to sit Minshew for the rest of the season and appeal to the NCAA for a waiver that would grant Minshew a sixth year of eligibility.
Taggart, though, reminded on Thursday that sixth years are never a certainty, and that, with seven games left in the regular season, he’d like to see Minshew help out sooner rather than later.
“If Cole’s able to play and can help our football team right now, we want Cole to help our football team,” he said. “We have so much ahead of us in this season and so much left in this season.”
Elsewhere, Taggart played things pretty close to the vest.
He confirmed earlier this week that quarterback James Blackman would start and that reserve Alex Hornibrook will play.
But asked for details of how exactly that dynamic will work, Taggart only said, “That’s going to be a Saturday thing” and that, “Once the game starts, we’ll roll those guys out there and let it go.”
Instead, Taggart preferred to focus on his priorities for the position.
“The quarterback has to go in and execute,” he said. “Prepare during the week, and then you get out on the football field and you execute. You run the offense, you lead them down (the field) and you try to score touchdowns. And don’t turn the football over.”
Taggart also has a decision to make on at kicker, where walk-on Parker Grothaus is challenging senior Ricky Aguayo for his place atop the depth chart.
Aguayo came into the season as a no-doubt starter and began the season by making his first three field goals – including a 53-yarder at Virginia.
Since then, though, he’s 1-for-5 on field goals and, after Aguayo missed a 47-yard attempt against NC State two weeks ago, Taggart called on Grothaus to take last two extra points.
(He made both.)
Taggart again chose not to reveal who would kick field goals at Clemson, joking that he would “flip a coin” between the two.
If he does go with Grothaus, it would be a big sign of faith in a redshirt sophomore who has yet to attempt his first collegiate field goal. He has, however, handled kickoffs since Week 2.
“I’ll tell Parker he’s heads and Ricky he’s tails,” Taggart said with a smile. “Whatever it is, that’s who’s going in.”