39 (born 2/20/70)College:
B.A. from Baylor, 1992.Playing career:
He played defensive back for Baylor from 1988-91. He also was a return specialist.Coaching career:
•Auburn, wideouts (current)
•Oklahoma State, co-offensive coordinator/wideouts (2008)
•Tennessee, various offensive roles (2004-07)
•Tulane, wideouts (1999-2003)
•New Mexico, running backs (1998)
•Baylor, various roles (1992-97)Mentor:
Grant Teaff ("taff"), long-time Baylor coach who later became The Guy at the American Football Coaches Association. "I don't make very many decisions in this business or anything, even with family, without talking to (Teaff)," Taylor said. ``He's like a second father to me."Previous Auburn experience:
He likes to keep it simple. The first time I met him, I asked about his approach to the game. He said his only goal is to have one more point than his opponent at the end of the day.
The statement makes more sense now that I have seen him work. Taylor isn't one to get bogged down on techniques and intricacies. He's a big-picture guy. He believes the better team on a given day almost always is the one that works harder on that given day. His goal is to build a group of players who bring life, heart and energy to the field at all times.
He is a hands-on guy during practice. He's simultaneously cheery and terse, rarely holding back on the observations that rattle through his head. It's one big stream of consciousness when Taylor opens his mouth. It's like someone reading a CNN crawl out loud: A short comment and then it's on to the next topic.
Taylor has an unusually low tolerance for loafing. This works in concert with his overall approach to the game. He believes players should be at full speed all the time when practice or play is involved.Personality profile:
Taylor has the most infectious personality on the Auburn staff. He smiles all the time, laughs loudly and laughs often. Taylor has a million andecdotes. Every topic has some kind of parallel in his world, which helps him gain trust easily.
I've said before that Auburn has the sellers and the truthers
when it comes to recruiting. Taylor is the No. 1 seller. He's the guy who's laughing, shaking hands, dropping references, patting people on the back and creating a party atmosphere.
He is the best seller I've seen at Auburn. He can seem trendy to a 17-year-old kid and seem genuine to his 70-year-old grandmother in the same sitting. Taylor is a politician.
He is the heart and soul of the Tigers' recruiting effort. He works closely with Curtis Luper, Jeff Grimes to represent the selling side of Auburn's enterprise.
At the same time, he doesn't strike me as being all that cavalier when the curtain drops. I don't think he's as happy-go-lucky as he seems. He is task-oriented. Taylor works through a list each day because things can get away from him. His conversational style, by definition, can lead him into tangential enterprises. He's a guy who can engage and disengage quickly. It has to be that way.
I haven't yet gotten a strong feel for Taylor's ultimate professional goal. He officially is an assistant head coach. He handles business at Auburn when Gene Chizik is away, which creates the image that Taylor is ready to take that next step. Before that day comes, though, surely he'll need some time as an offensive coordinator.
I'm not sure his big-picture approach would work well as a coordinator. Those guys typically are really into strategy. Maybe Taylor is a magical Xs-and-Os guy who is hiding behind a shrewdly constructed facade. Time will tell.Questions? Comments?
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