Taggart not shying away from tough schedule

Coach Willie Taggart has talked about chasing greatness and catching excellence.

In his first schedule as Western’s head coach, Taggart will have plenty of opportunities to do just that.

The Toppers open the season on Sept. 4 at Nebraska, a team coming off a BCS bowl game victory, before playing Sept. 11 at Kentucky, hosting Indiana on Sept. 18 and finishing up the non-conference slate on Sept. 25 at South Florida.

“It’s a very highly competitive schedule,” Taggart said. “I like it. It will give our guys something to shoot for. Kind of what we’ve been preaching since day one — chasing greatness and being a bully.

“If you’re going to be a bully, you’ve got to beat some bullies.”

There were few surprises in the 2010 schedule, which was mostly complete before former coach David Elson was fired last season.

Taggart said he’s looking forward to Kentucky in particular, because back when he played and coached at Western before leaving for Stanford, the Wildcats were the state’s “bully.”

“Since I’ve been here, UK’s been the school,” Taggart said. “Whether they’re the best school or not, that’s just how it’s been. For me personally, it would be great to get a change. How about Western being that school everyone talks about? That’s what we deserve — that’s what we work towards.”

Western has only five home games next season and ends at Troy and by hosting Middle Tennessee — the Sun Belt Conference’s top-two teams last season. Taggart said he wasn’t intimidated by that portion of the schedule.

“To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter because we’ve got to play them,” Taggart said. “We’ve got to play them earlier or later. They’re two of the best teams in the conference, and that’s where we want to be.”

Jonathan Lintner

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