Taylor, Tigers Begin Practices In Nashville

Nashville, Tenn.--Courtney Taylor and his Auburn football teammates return to practice on Saturday following a one-week layoff as they start their final preparations for the Music City Bowl vs. the Wisconsin Badgers.

The Tigers will work out Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Vanderbilt University and will go over the game plan on Tuesday prior to Wednesday's 11 a.m. kickoff from The Coliseum in downtown Nashville.

Auburn and Wisconsin are both coming into the game following long layoffs with their last contests on Nov. 22nd. On that day the Tigers defeated Alabama 28-23 with a solid offensive performance from a variety of players. One of the young Tigers who had a good day vs. Auburn's arch-rival was freshman receiver Courtney Taylor, who had his season-best performance with eight catches for 83 yards.

Taylor says that was a good memory from a season that didn't have as many good days as he expected for either himself or his team, which struggled to a 7-5 record.

"I came into the season with high expectations," Taylor says. "I set many goals. Making the SEC All-Freshman team helped, but it was very frustrating dealing with injuries throughout the season. However, that is something you have to deal with and play through. I was finally healthy for the Alabama game and that felt really good."

Auburn racked up 519 yards of total offense in its last outing, its third highest total of the season and second highest total in an SEC game behind the 553 put up against Mississippi State's defense.

Taylor says the Tigers felt good about how they played offensively in their last game. "The plan was well thought out and it seemed as if everything we were doing was working," he says. "Basically, it comes down to guys executing the offense and we did that."

Wisconsin, which is also 7-5, came into the season with higher expectations, too. Taylor says that the Badgers have plenty of talent and notes that his team will have to play well in Nashville to go home a winner.

"We watched plenty of film on Wisconsin," Taylor says. "They have got a good defense. They are big and they fly to the ball. In the secondary they have got a couple of guys who are pretty good--No. 2 (cornerback Scott Starks) is good and the Leonhard guy (No. 18, free safety Jim Leonhard) plays like an All-American or something."

Taylor dives for an incomplete long pass on a previous visit to Nashville earlier this season where the Tigers were 45-7 winners at Vanderbilt in game three. Taylor caught three passes for 34 yards in that contest.

Normally at this time of year, the former Carrollton High star is well into his basketball season. He was a three-sport standout in high school and just as much a college prospect in basketball as in football. However, he seems happy with his decision to play football for the Tigers.

"It feels a little weird to not be playing basketball now and I do miss it at times, but I am growing into this sport so much that it really doesn't matter right now," Taylor says. "My main focus is on football." His full attention to the game has allowed him to catch 33 passes for 366 yards so far in his redshirt freshman season, which Taylor hopes is just a preview of coming attractions.

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