For the second straight year, the Boise State football team will face a bowl opponent led by an interim coach.
Oregon coach Willie Taggart left Tuesday after one season at the helm to become Florida State’s new coach. Co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal has been named Oregon’s interim coach. Cristobal is also a potential full-time candidate.
The Broncos will play Oregon on Dec. 16 in the Las Vegas Bowl. In last year’s Cactus Bowl, they played a Baylor team led by interim coach Jim Grobe.
Taggart was 7-5 in his lone year with the Ducks. A Florida native, he previously was the head coach at South Florida and Western Kentucky from 2010-2016, going 40-45 overall but leading strong turnarounds at both stops.
“When we all got the text, me and all my roommates were like, ‘Are you kidding me? This is actually happening,’” safety Brady Breeze told the Eugene Register-Guard.
After Oregon fired coach Mark Helfrich last November, Taggart was officially hired Dec. 7, 2016, making his tenure less than a calendar year.
“We can’t really get mad at him for it,” Breeze said. “He’s just doing what’s best for his family and what’s best for him. We have to be thankful for what he’s done for this program this year.”
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin was widely reported to have interviewed for the vacancy after Helfrich was fired, though he sidestepped questions about it when asked last year. The Oregonian reported that the school had begun a contingency plan over the weekend, and though internal candidates are among the front-runners, Harsin’s name was mentioned in the report.