Taylor Made For The Receiver Position

Courtney Taylor talks about his progression as a wide receiver and what he hopes to accomplish before the season opener.

Auburn, Ala--The signs were there right away last summer when he stepped onto the practice field for his first workouts as an Auburn Tiger. Although he was learning the basics of playing wide receiver and destined for a redshirt, Courtney Taylor had the athleticism and instincts to become one of the Tigers' top players in the coming years.

Thatis becoming a reality this year for Auburn as Taylor has been the most consistent and explosive of a talented group of wide receivers. Showing good hands and a feel for getting open, the redshirt freshman says that this season has been a lot different because of the expectations of playing time.

"It's a lot more intense," Taylor says. "I have to step it up another level. I have guys out here, all of us are about on the same level and pushing each other to compete. One day this person will bring out the best in this person. It's like that every day. It's competitive and it's on another level as compared to me last year just trying to learn the offense."

Taylor works against Junior Rosegreen in a recent practice.

Bigger, stronger and faster this fall after a full year in the weight room with strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall, the nearly 200-pound Taylor has had no problems getting off the line of scrimmage and into the secondary. Still in the learning process at his position, Taylor has shown position Coach Greg Knox some things this fall that should help his cause for playing time when the season begins.

"Coming from being a quarterback, he's still in the transition stage of becoming a receiver," Knox says. "It will be another year before he truly learns the position, but he's growing daily with it. It's not something you learn overnight, but he's getting better and better. The more opportunity he gets to actually get in there in a live competition setting he'll continue to improve.

"He's learning and he's starting to get more relaxed," Knox adds. "He's still trying to get to the position where it's more of a reaction than something he has to think about. Once that phase hit's he's going to be okay."

One of the most important things to happen for Taylor and his offensive teammates this offseason was when the coaching staff decided to remain in the current offense despite the loss of Coordinator Bobby Petrino to Louisville. With coaches Hugh Nall and Steve Ensminger running things, the Tigers have been more aggressive this fall by throwing the ball downfield. Taylor says keeping everything familiar has been helpful.

"That's one of the biggest keys because most of these guys had just gotten through learning Petrino's offense," Taylor notes. "I think that would have thrown us back a whole bunch if we would have come back with another offensive system. I think that helps us a lot."

Currently running at first team along with Ben Obomanu and Jeris McIntyre at receiver, Taylor has supplanted sophomore Devin Aromashodu in the first week of fall drills. With the goal of starting in the season opener August 30, Taylor says he's got a long way to go to accomplish that feat and just needs to keep working hard.

"Right now I'm just trying to run the offense and execute like Coach (Greg Knox) wants me to run it," Taylor says. "If I get there I think I'll be ready. If I get the offense down then everything else is second nature. That's basically what I have to do before we play USC."


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