Willie or won't he? Oregon's Taggart denies interest in Florida coaching job

Oregon head coach Willie Taggart walks off the field following Oregon's third consecutive loss. The Oregon Ducks fell to the UCLA Bruins 14-31 after being shut out during the second half at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California. This marks the third consecutive loss for the Ducks, dropping their record to 4-4 on the season. Photo by Austin Hicks, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - Following the University of Florida's firing of head football coach Jim McElwain over the weekend, rumors have spurred that Oregon head coach Willie Taggart will be contacted in the Gator's efforts to find a new coach.

SI.com named Taggart, a Florida native who is currently in his first year as the head coach of the Ducks, as a name to watch in the search, while a sports agent on Monday morning tweeted that Taggart has been contacted and is a "real possibility" for Florida.

At his weekly news conference with the media on Monday, Taggart disputed these rumors.

"I have not been contacted by anyone," said Taggart. "The only AD I have been contacted by is Rob Mullens, and I love that guy. I am committed to the University of Oregon, and focused on Washington."

However, whether you believe Taggart when he says he is not considering the highly-touted job back in his home state, it is known that the contract he signed with Oregon in December of 2016 makes his buyout "shockingly available," according to Football Scoop.

According to the language in Taggart's contract, any school could pay $3 million up front and release him from his contract with the Ducks, who originally payed $1.7 million to get the Florida native out of his contract at South Florida in 2016.

It is tough to navigate through rumors and "coach speak" (loosely defined as jargon that coaches use to vaguely navigate around the point of a question), but rumors of Taggart leaving Oregon after just a year are sure to stir up conversations in Eugene.

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