More with Trooper Taylor
Today? Let's see what Taylor had to say about a few more general topics:
- Explain how you affect which wideouts Auburn recruits: ``Every one of them comes through me. I evaluate and approve every single receiver we recruit. There are no ifs ands or buts. Just like if it's my area and I'm looking at a d-lineman, he isn't going to get an offer unless Tracy Rocker says so.
The ultimate guy is Chiz. If there's a question after that, we go to the coordinators. Sometimes it's about if they'll play offense or defense. Coach Chiz solves all those problems. He takes suggestions from the coordinators.
If the kid doesn't fit with me, I don't care if he's a five-star guy. It doesn't matter. I'm not going to coach a kid who doesn't understand and doesn't respect our values and the way we do things."
- What do you look for in a wideout? ``I like play-makers. If he makes plays in high school, I like him. I'll be conscientious of who he's playing against. If he's playing against guys who run 5-flat and he's running a 4.8, he'll look fast because he's playing at a certain level.
I won't take a guy because he's too small. I won't take a guy because he's too big. I take guys who make plays. We want guys who are versatile. We like guys who can run reverses, who can throw the football, who can catch the tunnel.
We're not the typical group that says: He has to catch the fade or he has to catch the slant. We talk about finding the most versatile receivers in the county. We don't want to lock our guys in. A lot of places will put a kid in one spot and then the defense is able to take him away. All he knows is that one spot.
They don't move them around. It's like war -- if you know where the enemy is, you can blow him up. Our guys learn concepts. Where you are in the formation tells you which route to run. We change it up."
- Becoming versatile ... is that more of a physical or mental thing? ``It's both. I'm always looking for fear -- guys that slide or avoid the hit. If he won't bite when he's a puppy, he probably won't bite as a big dog. Those are the things I look for. I need tough guys. I need play-makers. He won't quit. I like big blocks. I like guys who give it all in whatever they're doing. Those kinds of guys make the transition to our system much faster than a guy who just runs great routes and is quick.
- You all are always signing high-school quarterbacks to be wideouts. Why? ``That's usually because he's the best athlete. They cut out the middle man and direct-snap to the best athlete. That's what Trovon (Reed) did in high school. He was versatile. That experience pays off when you get here -- you have a lot of skills.
- But that makes the learning curve pretty steep, right? ``It does, but when you play quarterback you understand protections and the routes and the coverages. They had to manage the whole deal rather than being locked in as a receiver and you only worry about the guy over top of you.
The kids who were quarterbacks coming in, it's a terminology thing. They usually understand the concepts right off."
- How is this offense changing from 2009 to 2010? ``We've already made quite a few adjustments. I can't get into those with the newspaper (laughter) but this season is going to be a lot different. We were teaching last year. Now we know the whole thing and now we can break it down by parts. We can really work on some smaller stuff, itty-bitty adjustments that they wouldn't have even understood time time last year.
We're also spending more time explaining to them why we call what we call. If they adjusted this way, this is our answer. They need to think with us. There's power in knowledge. That's going to be a big difference."
- What are you expecting from Kodi Burns in 2010? ``I don't think his role will change. I think he'll do the exact same thing. He brings so much to the table with his smarts. He can throw the football. He can give you those tough yards in the Wildcat. He blocks, too. I don't think his "slash" deal will change.
He went from quarterback, taking maybe five or 10 yards at a time, he started running 10 times that. He lost some of his explosiveness later in the year because he wasn't used to it.
This signing class -- they're talented, but they're here to help us build some depth right now. There was a major drop-off from first team to second team last year. The other teams we played, there wasn't a major drop-off. That's where you close the gap -- when your second guy is right there with the first guy."
Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
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