Taylor Getting Closer To Full Speed

Wide receiver Courtney Taylor talks about coming back from an ankle injury and playing on the road for the first time.

Auburn, Ala.-–Coming into the 2005 season Auburn junior wide receiver Courtney Taylor was one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference after a fantastic sophomore year in which he caught 43 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns.

But things haven't worked out as Taylor had hoped. Playing in just four games because of a high ankle sprain, Taylor has just 10 catches for 127 yards and doesn't have a touchdown on the season. Still not full speed as the Tigers head to Arkansas this weekend, Taylor says that he's getting closer to being ready and will play against the Hogs.

"I'm coming along," Taylor says. "I'm getting healthier every week. Hopefully I'll be 100 percent really soon. I'm doing pretty good with it. In my opinion I like to say I'm doing better than the average guy would with an injury like this. It's painful at times, but this is football. It's a painful sport."

Taylor splits the defense against the Razorbacks last season.

On the road for the first time this year, the Tigers will have several players on both sides of the unfamiliar with starting somewhere other than Jordan-Hare Stadium. Perhaps the most important is sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox. Averaging 240 yards per game through the air with six touchdowns and four interceptions (all coming against Georgia Tech), Cox will have to step his game up this weekend. That's something Taylor says he doesn't see as a problem for Cox.

"His poise has been great," Taylor says. "That's the caliber guy that we've got, the type of guy that is always going to bounce back and stay calm and cool. That's what I like about Brandon, I applaud him for that. After that first game he could have went South, but he stayed in there and believed in us and we believed in him.

"Brandon has been in these situations," Taylor adds. "He has never been in the game in situations like this, but at the same time I feel like we've got enough experience to help him out with the audibles and all sorts of things. We've done this for two or three years with most of the guys on offense, so I think that's an advantage to Brandon."

Playing on the road is sometimes a tough thing for an offense because of the noise factor involved, but that is not something that should bother the Tigers. A visual offense that audibles using hand signals instead of audible signals to receivers, Taylor says that it usually doesn't bother this offense when it gets noisy.

"Basically from a receiver's standpoint, I'm not even sure about the linemen I think they just hear it and echo it to each other, it's pretty much just watching the quarterback," Taylor says. "We do signals here at home regardless. That's pretty much what we do. It's not even hard to me. You just watch the quarterback and watch the ball."

Even though the crowd noise might not make a different to Auburn's offense, it does have an impact on the game when the home team gets things rolling early. Something the Tigers did a good job of last season for the most part is taking the crowd out early and Taylor says that's important this week at Arkansas.

"There's a big difference," Taylor says. "You have got up in there with a sense of urgency. You have to beat those guys to the punch. You have to take them emotionally out of it when they're at home."

Some players don't enjoy going on road trips, but there are several Tigers that enjoy taking their act into opposing stadiums. Defensively linebacker Travis Williams and Will Herring have enjoyed good games away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. The same is true of Taylor, Anthony Mix and Tre Smith on offense. Taylor says there is just something about getting a win on the road that is special and he hopes to have that feeling again this weekend.

"I'm not going to lie, I have been waiting for an away game," Taylor says. "It's just the idea that you get to go into an opponent's stadium and still get a win from them. That's why I like it. You look up and see their fans leaving and mad. You've got to love that."


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