Roughly 19 months ago, I interviewed Harold Taylor fresh out of Smiley HS, I thought it might be interesting to catch up with Harold after his performance at Southern Miss and get his ideas on the time that has passed since the last interview.
DD - Harold, it has been a while since you emerged from Smiley HS and became a Houston Cougar, was it the correct decision looking back on things?
HT – Yes, it was probably the best decision of my career. Coach Briles knows how to use talent when he has it, and I know that he plans on using my talent to its best ability.
DD - How does the speed of the game at the Division 1 level versus high school change things? Is it what you expected?
HT - It is a little faster, but not way too fast, I believe I'm pretty fast and me being from California and all, I've been doing everything at a fast pace. I expected it to be like this but the only thing I wasn't prepared for was the fast linebackers. We have some fast linebackers on our team and Southern Miss had some fast ones too.
DD - I know that you ran track in HS (100m, 200m, relays and jumping events), have you maintained that speed? What do you think is your current 40-time?
HT - I have increased my speed on the field. I feel a lot faster than I did when I was in high school, even though I was only 180, I'm 200 pounds now and blow past people like I was still 180. I ran the 40 this past spring, I ran a 4.50 in my old school Chuck Taylors, and the thing about it is, I stumbled when I came out, so I know I'm faster than what I used to be, thanks to Coach Slaughter.
DD - The Coogs have a really great group of RBs with Anthony Evans, Ryan Gilbert and Jackie Battle, you all seem to have your own style, how has it been teaming, learning and practicing with these guys?
HT – It has been fun, I'm the young gun out of the group so I get teased about every little thing I do, but we all know we have different style. Jackie is the one that will run you completely over, Anthony is that back that is smart and he knows how to hit the hole hard. Ryan is the back who can do it all, and I'm the little speedy guy. We also have Matt and Carl, they block the butts off for us. But for one of us to be great, we all need to be great.
DD - Southern Miss has always had a great defensive team, but it seems as though they were not ready for what the Coogs did on offense during the recent ESPN game. Was the offense just clicking or did we throw some new things at them?
HT - We did what we always do, run, pass and make big plays. For me, it was something new because it was my first actual experience, especially against a good defensive team. Coach said it was up to the offense to do what we do best, and that's put up points, and the surprising thing about Southern Miss was they were calling out our plays before we ran them, but they just couldn't stop it because we had it set in our minds that we were going to move the ball.
DD - The O-Line has seemingly been a work in progress all season, but recently have looked to make real progress, do the RBs and the OL hang together and/or talk about what's working or not working? HT - We always talk about what's working and what's not working, we try to know each other's weaknesses and strengths. We hang out from time to time but not like people think we do. When we go to parties we all stick together, but on an everyday basis we do our own thing because everybody has got his own thing going, but overall we are all on the same page and we know that without the other we are nothing.
DD - How has it been working with Coach Briles and Coach Montgomery?
HT – It's real laid back, coming from Smiley and Serra (California), I always had that "in your face" type of coach, but the coaches here aren't like that. I like them because instead of jumping down my throat and making me feel bad about my mistakes, they just try to help me not make those same mistakes anymore. The one thing i like about Coach Mo and Coach Briles is that if you didn't know them, you wouldn't know that they were coaches, they don't stress the fact that "I'm the coach, what I say goes", they actually listen to us and if they see where we are coming from they go along with it.
DD - In one of our email conversations a while back, you told me that you were going to go ATOMIC when you hit the field, well, you looked great at Southern Miss and the fans are really liking what they have seen so far, how do you see the remainder of the schedule shaping up for you and the Coogs?
HT - As a team, I know these next five games could be a breeze for us. We have the talent and ability to kill everyone left on our schedule. A lot people don't believe it, but I do. We can win these last five and go to a bowl and win. It's up to us to do that, as for me, it's in the coaches hands. Right now, I'm just a role player, if I'm needed i do my thing, but coach already knows that when he does put the ball in my hands, I'm going to do great things. As of for the rest of the season, I'll take it one play at a time because at any given moment GOD can take the talent he has given me and give it to someone else. Every time I touch the ball I have no choice but to put on a show, because I might not get another chance.
DD - How's college life been for you? About what you expected?
HT – It's cool, I thought being out of my parents house was going to be fun, I have my own curfew, my own rules. but I get homesick. Sometimes, I want to wake up to my mom cooking pancakes in the morning, my little brothers fighting over the video games, I miss that. I'm a "mommas boy", i love my mom, but I know what I have to do to be successful, and that means there are some things I need to learn for myself, but overall I like it, especially all the HOT WOMEN walking around campus, OOOOHHHH, I LOVE ME SOME WOMEN.
DD - In our last interview, you told us about your family, how are they? Do you get home much for some of mom's cooking? How are your twin brothers doing? Do they make it out to the games?
HT - My family is good and blessed. I go home about once every month, I don't want to be around all the time because i have a new life to live. My brothers are good, they are still the funniest nine-year olds I have ever encountered. They call me on the phone late at night with their lil' girlfriends on 3-way trying to hook me up with the lil' girls older sister, its all in fun though, they come to all the home games. They tell me that they want to come to UH so they can be better than me, they are in so much of a competition with me even though I'm 10 years older than them.
DD - What can you tell us about your boy CHOPPA style, Davell Lauder?
HT – HE'S COMING BACK!!!!! I talk to CHOPPA every other day. I keep sweating him to bring his behind back here, he says he ain't going anywhere but to Houston. He's in California at a juco right now and he's blazin' out there, USC, UW, UCLA, OU, and Ohio state are all trying to get him to their programs but he said they're mad because he wants to come back here. When he gets here all the UH fans will witness something different, like a Lawrence Taylor type difference.
DD - Is there anything you want to say to the CoogFans out there?
HT - I'm glad that I'm part of this program because you guys are the definition of what a fan needs to be. I will be glad as I spend the next three years of my collegiate career in Houston because I will show you guys the same love that you guys show us.
Harold, thanks for talking the time for this interview, good luck the rest of the season.