The Candid Michael Taylor

Confidence is a must when you are playing at the highest level of sport and confidence is certainly something that Florida freshman linebacker Michael Taylor doesn't lack. The Under Armour All-American Game MVP brings it with his attitude, but more importantly he brings it with his play. Now he is ready to bring his game, both on and off the field, to Gainesville.

Michael Taylor will hit you and then he will laugh about it. He got the attitude because of a transition of sorts. A few years ago he moved across country to Georgia and folks were trying to intimidate him about it before he ever stepped on the field. Now it is another move for him and he is hearing it all over again. He is excited for the challenge.

"I have been ready for a while," he said late Monday night and sounding like he could run through a wall. "I am just ready to go play football at the best university and best conference in America. When I moved down here to Georgia from California they all said it was going to be different down here and I was going to be playing against Hershel Walker's kids and kids growing up on corn bread. Then I came down here and did good and the same things I was doing out in California.

"Now I am heading to Florida and all I'm hearing is Florida has the best players and I am going to have to go down there and do my thing against those guys. It's just another exciting moment in my life. I am ready for the challenge and am ready for football and ready to enjoy college."

Taylor understands it is going to be a rough summer under the tutelage of strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, but don't expect him to fold up and shy away from the challenge.

"I feel like I am pretty prepared, but there is no comparison in how to do it on the college level," he said. "I feel like I prepared myself the best I could. I worked hard and took breaks when I needed it. I just feel like I prepared myself properly."

He has already gotten some insight on what it is like from fellow freshmen that were enrolled at Florida for the spring semester.

"I have a good relationship with (Joshua Shaw), (Jordan Haden), and some of the other guys that are down there already. The main thing they talk about is the speed and how much more it is at the college level."

Already 6-0 and 218 pounds, he is well on his way to being physically ready ti play at the college level. Th eventual home should be as a middle linebacker, but he has aspirations of getting on the field soon, so he is willing to play anywhere.

"I will be a Mike linebacker, but I know there are two spots open and I will come in and compete for that," he said.

Middle linebacker Brendan Beal transferred away from Florida after the spring. While he was on the depth chart, Taylor wasn't worried about him too much.

"He transferred?" Taylor asked surprised. "He was irrelevant anyway. It just seemed like he was nonchalant about it when he was there anyway."

That's what you get from Taylor on a regular basis. He gets a little more in your face during the game if you happen to be on the opposite team.

"I probably had more penalties my junior year (than senior)," he said. "Most for excessive talking, they tried to keep a muzzle on me."

"I love talking trash, getting loud, and nasty and in other people's face," he said. "I love talking trash with offensive linemen. I think the intimidation (for his opponent) is about even between my talking and playing hard.

He also is a leader. He isn't going to sit back and play the freshman card and be afraid to lead when he is on the field. The middle linebacker should be the quarterback of the defense and Michael Taylor is all ready for that.

"Oh that will be the first day of practice," he said about taking the bull by the horns and leading his teammates. "It doesn't matter if I am a freshman or they know me. I am going to be out there and vocal. I am going to be out there running the defense like it is my senior year. I am going to be vocal and run around."

Taylor talked a little bit about his strengths.

"I think my instincts and when I am on the field I have no fear," he said. "When I am out there I will do the impossible. That is the biggest thing. I will do anything on the field that won't get me a penalty."

For Gator fans, here is what you can expect fro Mr. Taylor.

"I am a person that has played football all his life," he said. "I live, sweat, and breath football all the time. I have a hard work ethic and never give up. If you watch my games, we may be losing 20-0 and I will still be playing every play like it is the first play. I will give it all on every play and be a great team player. You won't hear all the problems with me off the field like these other players. I feel like I have had a good up bringing. It will be a pleasure for them to cheer for me."

It was certainly a pleasure to interview him.

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