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December 13, 2012

O'Leary, Taggart trade barbs

Florida's future Big East coaches made radio appearances in the Orlando market on Thursday.

UCF coach George O'Leary spent a few minutes on Mike Bianchi's radio show on 740, while newly hired USF coach Willie Taggart chatted with David Baumann on 1080.


To no surprise, Bianchi asked O'Leary about Taggart's press conference comments of "owning the I-4 corridor" in recruiting.

"He just got the job, right?," O'Leary responded.

After a brief pause, O'Leary continued: "I think basically there are a lot of athletes on the corridor. Like I tell players, 'Show me, don't talk about it.' Willie, I don't know him, but it sounds like he's doing what he should be doing as a head coach, basically talking about recruiting and what his expectations are. But we're on the I-4 corridor. I hope he understands that."

Taggart expanded on his "I-4 corridor" comments during his interview with Baumann.

"That's got to be our in-state for us," Taggart said. "It's close to Tampa. There are some really good football players. I did a little research last year and there were 72 Division I kids just from that area and about 41 BCS kids. They're there. We've just got to go get them."

Baumann then told Taggart that O'Leary, on a competing radio show earlier that morning, said something to the effect of, "Show me, don't tell me," in response to Taggart's recruiting statement.

Baumann then asked, "Already are we developing a rivalry?"

Taggart: "I think a rivalry is there. We've got to play them and we plan on beating them when we play them and in everything we do. That's the way it is and the way it's got to be. I said in my press conference that we bow down to no man or no program here at South Florida."

Taggart then admitted he didn't know much about UCF or the history between the two schools, who have only met in football four times. USF won every meeting from 2005-08 before calling off the series. Also, there were also reports USF president Judy Genshaft led a charge to block UCF's entry into the Big East prior to the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

"I can't speak for the past and to be honest I don't know that much about it," Taggart said. "But for the future we plan on winning those games and making them upset with us."

O'Leary said it's a great thing to have such a heated rivalry on the schedule. Bianchi called it a "blood rivalry."

"I think that's a game you should have been playing every year," O'Leary said. "Hopefully we play Thanksgiving weekend. It's a good deal for both schools and the stadiums, the stream of revenue. It's a great game as far as the schools are concerned. It's a great game for the fanbase. They talk about the game all the time. I think it's a super situation. I think it's going to aid both schools. The way the conferences are going and everything else, I think you're going to find UCF and USF getting a lot closer in what's taking place."

Taggart was posed a similar question. He didn't go into as much detail as O'Leary, but stated the game should be positive for both programs.

"I think it can be (a big rivalry)," Taggart said. "It's got to happen by playing each other every year. You talk about Florida State, Florida and Miami and they play each other every year. I think it can get there."

Click the links to listen to the full interviews:

George O'Leary interview
Willie Taggart interview



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