After his impressive performance on Saturday, the J.J. Taylor hype train certainly did not slow down on Monday.
“It’s one game,” Rich Rodriguez said. “Let’s no put too much pressure on the guy and expect him to put up 150 yards on every team. That is his makeup. He is a quiet, tough, competitive guy. He is a lot of fun to coach.”
If Rodriguez wants to slow down the hype, his comments on Monday certainly did not help.
“He has probably learned as quickly as any true freshman I have ever had, and I have had some really good ones play throughout the years,” Rodriguez said. “From a football standpoint, he is probably the as quick a learner we have had.
“Coach Magee has done a great job with him. I think Calvin knew from the start that he had something special, but he has even remarked that this guy can do it all.”
Taylor gets a lot of attention for being 5-foot-6, but Rodriguez was never concerned about his height.
“Everybody is making a big deal out of his size,” Rodriguez said. “He’s not tall, but he’s not small. He’s put together, he’s strong. We’re not trying to go have dunk a basketball. He just has to go run, catch, and block. He can do that.
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he has good strength and he’s a very competitive person. He hit that circle button about four or five times, and it was amazing to watch, lot of fun.”
Watching Taylor make defenders look silly is nothing new for Rodriguez.
“I thought ‘this guy is explosive’, and he keeps putting up numbers,” Rodriguez said of watching Taylor in high school. “Even after he was committed to us, everybody says ‘have you seen him play’, and of course we did. Every time someone would watch him play, they would say ‘that guy is one of the best players on the field’.”
One of the more impressive aspects of Taylor’s game is his ability to learn quickly.
“For a true freshman to come in and learn this much; there are no plays we call on our offense and think ‘oh he doesn’t really know that play,” Rodriguez said.
“That is very rare for any true freshman in this day in age. I think his love for the game is good, and he will keep getting better. There is a lot of football still ahead for him.
“One of the things that stood out to us in recruiting was that he played in a great high school program and was one of the most productive players in the state, and loves football. I think that is why he learned so quickly, because everything about the game and preparation is important to him.”