Taylor Eager To Make A Difference For Tigers

Junior Courtney Taylor talks about his disappointing season and his plans for next season.

Auburn, Ala.–-For junior wide receiver Courtney Taylor the experience has been excruciating. Expected to be one of the top players in the SEC at his position, Taylor has been limited by an ankle injury since the second game of the season and enters Saturday night's game against LSU with just 10 catches for 127 yards and no touchdowns.

Taylor says that while the injury has taken longer to heal than he thought, it hasn't changed his outlook on the season.

"It's killing me, but at the same time it's like an obstacle and a challenge in my career that I have to go through ups and downs," Taylor says. "This is the down part, but I'm ready to keep working hard and get back on top of my game. I have been in many situations where there have been ups and downs my whole life. It hasn't changed my mindset."

Back but not full speed against South Carolina and Arkansas, Taylor spent much of the time watching fellow receivers Ben Obomanu, Devin Aromashodu and Anthony Mix on the receiving end of passes from quarterback Brandon Cox. While he admits that he's jumping in line more often with Cox during practices, he doesn't want to interfere with a good thing going on at the moment by demanding the ball or complaining when it doesn't come his way.

"I don't even want to stop Brandon from doing what he's doing," Taylor says. "In my opinion Brandon is doing a good job. This year we're spreading the ball out a whole lot more. Like I have been preaching since I have been here, I'm with three other guys that could possibly play anywhere in the nation and be go-to guys.

"In any game any one of us could be go-to guys. That's the thing I like about the receivers. I don't want Brandon to stop anything he's doing, hit the open guy. Whoever is open and whoever can make the play, but all of us want to make plays."

Taylor is known for his big-play ability.

This week Taylor says he has felt more like his normal self, running without as much pain and showing the ability to make cuts closer to full speed. That was evident against Arkansas as he looked good at times running routes, much better than against the Gamecocks. He says that he finally feels ready to go and not a moment too soon with a tough game against LSU coming up.

"I think I'm ready," Taylor says. "The last game I really didn't play that much. I was full go out there. I was running around and making cuts. I was out there trying stuff just to see how it was feeling. It feels good. I'm ready and ready to be back in the offense."

Auburn's offense will face a LSU defense Saturday night that has had trouble at times defending the pass. In the season opener the Bengal Tigers gave up 461 yards passing to Arizona State. That was followed by 250 yards from Tennessee in a Monday night loss in Tiger Stadium. Since then LSU has been downright scary, allowing just 393 total passing yards in wins over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Florida. Taylor says that while it will be tough, there's always a chance for success against a team like LSU because of their style of play.

"Basically we look forward to every game there is," Taylor says. "We most definitely look forward to games where guys like to play man. That was the thing with Arkansas. They played man pretty much every play. I have never seen a team that lived and died by playing man. That just means there's more guys in the box. As receivers, our eyes light up when we think about man coverage."

Before the season started there was talk that 2005 would be Taylor's last season on the Plains. A physical receiver who seems perfectly suited to life in the NFL, Taylor was all but gone some people assumed. The one person they forgot to ask was the only one who matters and the redshirt junior says he has always intended to come back for another season.

Taylor says while this season has been a disappointment it hasn't had any bearing on his decision because in his mind it was already done.

"That was my whole intention from the beginning," Taylor says. "A lot of people don't believe me, but I'll tell them I didn't feel like I was ready. Auburn has been too good to me. College life has been too good to me. My saying is that I've been broke this long, why not another year?"


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