Taylor Poised for Standout Sophomore Season

A solid showing at Camp T last season didn't translate to extended playing time for WR Kerry Taylor. A logjam at his position was the main culprit. This season, the depth at wide receiver may be even greater, but the difference is that the Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton product is looking up at no one and rather establishing himself as one of the most dangerous weapons in ASU's passing attack.

Despite the good season last year ASU is making no impressions other than improvement. After an intense session of offense versus defense Kerry Taylor was all smiles, joking around with teammate Rodney Cox, who plays on the other side of the ball.

Even though Taylor didn't play much during the 2007 campaign, he will be expected to step up his game. "The way we finished last year and going into this season, we are a lot further ahead than we were last spring, so I think a lot of good things can happen," Taylor said. "If the offensive line gets better and keeps working the sky is the limit for us. We have a lot of returning players back for us, Keegan Herring, Dimitri Nance and all the receivers back."

Taylor's optimism is not without a splash of reality. The offense has been getting beaten on almost a daily basis by the defense in practice, which is not so much a sign of the offense lacking as it is a sign of the defense being more seasoned. "There are little mental mistakes," Taylor said about the struggling offense. "We have a lot of new guys at the offensive line. The stuff that we are messing up on now is stuff that we can correct and get right. Little things like the snap count and blending together."

"We have only been out here for three weeks now so just give it time. I think right now we are a lot farther ahead than we were last year. So if we just keep working I think we will be fine."

The spotlight is going to shine brighter on Taylor, due to the fact that he's the starting slot receiver this season. Last year was productive for Taylor, but he claimed this year we will see more from him on the field.

"I think (last year) was a good solid season and a good learning experience for me," he explained. "I got to get in and play in every game and get a lot of game experience. I got some catches, a touchdown and everything. I think for this year, last year helped me out a lot mentally knowing how it is going to be and the speed of the game and what I need to do."

Keeping Taylor going is his fan base that has followed him from Chandler, through Pop Warner and now at ASU. "Its exciting for fans to see people they knew and grew up with and grew up watching," he said. "It's pretty cool."

ASU is moving to a four-wide receiver set alignment, one that Taylor is going to play a huge role in. He said the formation has been good for him so far. "I think it is going to give a lot of teams trouble. We have a lot of speed out there and I think it's going to give a lot of teams matchup problems," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to (using it) in the game."

Taylor is anxious to show what he has learned since his freshman debut. "This year is a lot easier than last year because last year was more of a learning experience," he stated. "This year I know how to run routes, I know how to get open and how to get in and out of my breaks. I have a lot better read of the defense and I know where the open spots are going to be."

Being a better player means higher expectations from the coaches too. "Of course they are going to expect more from me," he laughed. "I mean, I think that they think I'm a good player and they want to push me to my limit and make sure that I'm the best I can be. They are always putting pressure on you, making sure you're being the best you can be. So I have to step up to the expectations and just go out there and play."

For Taylor, all of this adds up to the pursuit of perfection. "I expect big things," he said. "We should definitely win the PAC-10 and get to the Rose Bowl."

I asked if I could quote him on that. "Of course, use it!" he laughed.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories