Taylor Dazzles in Opener

In the season opener against Northern Arizona University wide receiver Kerry Taylor made a statement. The sophomore from Chandler, Ariz. caught four balls for ninety-three yards including a fifty-two yard touchdown reception, Arizona State's first score of 2008.

When Taylor came to Tempe, Ariz. in 2007 he was already well on his way to becoming an integral part of the team. The young wide receiver spent the spring of his high school senior year studying the Arizona State offense at practices and was far enough ahead of the pack to not be redshirted as a true freshman.

Although Taylor's development was enough to keep him off the scout team he did not see much time on the field and only totaled fifty-three receiving yards for the year. In only one game in 2008, Taylor nearly doubled last season's total. Taylor attributed some of his success to an increased comfort level with the offense.

"Oh, I'm definitely more comfortable." claimed Taylor. "I can go out there and play a lot faster this year. I know where to be a little bit better. I know the plays. I know how the defense is going to react. Overall I'm just a lot smarter and the experience really helped. This year will hopefully be a lot better season than last."

Taylor also believes that his impressive game has something to do with senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter being more secure and confident with Taylor after working with him for two years.

"We spent so much time over the summer getting our timing down and just really hanging out and getting to know each other more," Taylor noted. "I mean last year I only knew him for about four or five weeks and then we were in the first game. We know each other more and we have our timing down. It helps out a lot."

"Rudy made some great throws to me. It was kind of easy. To have a quarterback like Rudy who just puts the ball on the money and just make plays."

Northern Arizona typically runs man coverage and with a group of wide receivers as talented as the Sun Devils' Carpenter believed he could exploit the opposing defensive backs.

Judging by his 388 yards and 78.5% completion rate, he was prolific to say the least.

"One thing (Carpenter) really wanted us receivers to do is, during one-on-one coverage we have to win every time," said Taylor. "So when it is one-on-one we take it upon ourselves to win that battle. That's what we did this game and it paid off a lot. We have so many guys at receiver that can go out there and play. When you go out there and get your reps you really have to make the most of it because anyone can make plays."

Next on the schedule for the Sun Devils is a game against Pac-10 opponent Stanford. The Cardinal opened their season this past Thursday with a 36-28 home win against favored Oregon State. The Beavers walked away with a bruised ego after being upset by Stanford who looked impressive and far improved from the 2007 squad that the Sun Devils routed 41-3.

Jim Harbaugh's squad moved the ball well, especially on the ground, and defensively played aggressive and opportunistic. But despite winning the game and raising some eyebrows around the college football community, the Cardinal defense looked soft at times in pass coverage surrendering 404 yards through the air and three passing touchdowns. While those eye-popping numbers look appealing the Sun Devil receivers they will not take anything for granted.

"It's a Pac-10 game and everyone is good in the Pac-10. You can't take anyone lightly," commented Taylor. "We have to go out there and practice and prepare like we always do. We have to go in there like any other game, come out fast, play well, score some points and we'll be fine."


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