Taylor on a roll

The senior class on this year's Sun Devils quad is only 11 players strong, but some of those in the last season in Tempe are already making their impact in 2010. One of those players nearing the end of ASU tenure is Kerry Taylor and judging by his play thus far it appears that he has been saving his best for last.

Coming into 2010, the 6-0 197 Kerry Taylor never collected more than 27 receptions and 405 yards. After only three contest this year the former Chandler Hamilton standout is well on his way to obliterating those records with 13 receptions and 180 yards. "I just wanted to start fast this year and hopefully maintain that throughout the season," Taylor said. "I'm definitely confident in the way that I play so as long as the ball keeps getting thrown my way; I hope to keep making plays."

Like any senior on this team, Taylor values his leadership role more than any previous year.

"Not only on the offense, but on the whole team I'm basically the only senior starting," Taylor commented. "So I definitely put it on myself to be a big leader and help out the younger guys and try to start fast for them when in the beginning of the games some of the young guys are a little bit more nervous.

"I've been in pretty much every position I could be in here so nerves aren't really a big factor anymore, so I just try to come out and try to get everyone calm and get everyone ready to play."

The Sun Devils returned to practice this week after their 20-19 loss to Wisconsin last Saturday and got right to work preparing for the Oregon Ducks. In order to focus their attention where it needed to be, the maroon and gold had to quickly file away the loss to the Badgers.

"It seemed like everyone put the game behind them real quick," Taylor said. "We're just focused on moving on. It was definitely a long plane ride home, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

"I still think we're trying to shake it off in certain areas but for the most part we put it behind us. I think once we go out there and play Oregon, once we go out and get a win that will put it behind us."

Attendance at this weekend's matchup is likely to supersede that of the first two games at Sun Devil Stadium. Although the estimated 60,000 plus attendees is an increase from previous weeks, Taylor and his teammates hope to start winning games to encourage fans to come out and support the maroon and gold.

"It's definitely not going to be the same type of atmosphere as Wisconsin," Taylor admitted. "It won't be as loud but we have to start winning game if we want fans to come out so it's kind of on us as players. Hopefully we'll get some big wins and the stadium will start filling up more."

Despite coming up short against Wisconsin, Arizona State proved their ability to compete with highly ranked teams. For Taylor, one of the biggest lessons learned from such a heartbreaking loss was the importance of executing plays in the red zone. The offensive unit missed several chances to put points on the board when the opportunities presented themselves.

"Probably just focus," Taylor explained the shortcomings in this area. "Focus on the little things especially down by the red zone, we have to score points, a field goal is not going to get the job done, and we have to score touchdowns."

The Arizona State offensive scheme is still coming together and will continue to develop throughout the season. The offensive unit worked throughout the spring and fall to master the new scheme and aside from minimizing little mistakes, Taylor is confident that he and the rest of the unit are on track to reaching their maximum potential.

"I think we're real close," Taylor said. "I think we're about 90% there and that last 10% is that last finishing part when we get by the goal line. We've seen on film every day, we're just one little thing away from making a big play and one little thing away from making a touchdown so if we can just eliminate those little things and play to our full potential then the sky is the limit."

Next up for Taylor and the rest of the Sun Devils are the no.5 Oregon Ducks. The two teams will matchup in Tempe this Saturday as the maroon and gold look for their first Pac-10 win of the season.

"We're definitely ready," Taylor stated. "We want to get the last game's taste out of our mouths so we're ready to move on and play another game. I think we're all pretty tired of practicing, we're just ready to prove ourselves on game days."

In order to defeat a team of Oregon's caliber, the Sun Devils will need to play with minimal errors, something which they often have trouble with. Despite an impressive performance in Madison, the maroon and gold were unable to secure the win, so while Taylor is confident in his team's abilities, in the end it will come down to finishing plays.

"Just the little things," Taylor said of the keys to defeating the Ducks. "We have to play the same way we did against Wisconsin but just finish drives. Finish drives, score touchdowns and limit mistakes. We did a good job against Wisconsin not turning the ball over so that will be a big key against Oregon, just holding onto the ball and finishing drives."

Taylor can typically be seen leading the maroon and gold out of the Tillman tunnel and onto the field on game days. Not only is the senior a leader on the field, he also finds ways off the field to motivate the rest of the wide receivers.

"I'm just going to make sure, especially the receivers, that we're just ready to play," Taylor commented. "It doesn't matter if one ball comes your way or twenty balls come your way, when the ball is coming your direction, it's your turn to make a play so make that play. Make the most of your opportunities."


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