Q: Defensive line…how do you think things are going?
Taylor: Working hard…continuing to progress and trying to get better every day.
Q: What about yourself…how excited are you to get back on the field?
Taylor: I'm extremely excited to get back out there. I took last year off with an injury, but I'm extremely excited about it and I can't wait.
Q: What was that injury again?
Taylor: I tore my ACL.
Q: How difficult was that rehabilitation?
Taylor: It was a process. We have a great training staff here. I was extremely blessed…the Lord blessed me to come back. I actually came back in 4 months and I haven't looked back since.
Q: There were some good expectations for you last year and I'm sure you felt it too. Just how was it dealing with that…all of a sudden your season ending?
Taylor: It was tough, but at the same time everything happens for a reason and I understand that. There are some things I can control and some things I can't. One thing I can control is how I react to what happens to me in life. I think with what happened to me last year, it was a process of patience and my time will come. I'm anticipating that my time is here now and I'm going to try to do the best I can with it.
Q: How did it happen?
Taylor: It was my right knee. It was a play…non-contact. Just played it wrong…it happens.
Taylor: During the two-a-days last year. Fall 2006.
Q: Now, you're listed as a starter on the defensive line, but given the way this team has come together with all these new guys, do you guys get the sense that that depth chart is subject to change almost on a weekly basis?
Taylor: Well, the depth chart is subject to change based on performance. The thing I have to do is continue to improve…the coaches really stay after us about doing the little things right and that's one thing that I've tried to concentrate on is doing the little things right and continue to progress as a defensive end and to do my best every day.
Q: They have a quarterback that's kind of a scrambler. What are you guys…what's been emphasized to you guys to prepare for that?
Taylor: Coach tells us every day to read our keys, to fly around and run to the football…be physical up front, stop the run and rush the passer. We're really not getting into what they have and what they're doing. We need to focus on what we're doing and reading our keys and playing sound.
Q: What kind of challenge does that kind of quarterback present to a defensive line?
Taylor: You definitely have to contain and that sort of thing. Bottom line is you have to read your keys. You have to play football physically. The name of the game on defense is running and hitting…that's what we'll do no matter what we line up against.
Taylor: His progress has been great. He's come in with the attitude every day to work hard. Just keep a level head about things. I don't sense any arrogance or high mightiness. He seems pretty humble and like he wants to get better every day.
Q: Do you like the night game thing or would you rather be playing earlier in the day and getting it over with? There's kind of a high school feeling…how do you feel about that?
Taylor: To me football is football. It doesn't matter where or when. We line up and play. Typically the nerves have a chance to settle in a little bit more with the games being later in the day, but once we get out there on the field, none of that matters.
Q: Does that under-the-lights-atmosphere help you get pumped up at all?
Taylor: Like I said, football is football…it doesn't make a difference to me.
Coach Pelton stressed a couple of things. One, this unit needs to stop the run and
that's where your manhood exists on the field as a lineman and two, that he
wanted a vocal leader to emerge from that unit. Where is the team in terms of those two
Taylor: I think like everything else, it's a progression. Guys are naturally falling into leadership roles. That's the thing about it…in order to lead, you have to lead by example first. You can say what you want, but if you aren't producing…if you aren't a guy that's willing to come in and lead by example then not too many people are going to listen to what you have to say verbally.
Q: Was the injury…the ACL…a tough thing to get over mentally?
Taylor: To be honest with you, my faith isn't really in myself so it really isn't a question of my capabilities or my abilities…it's really about believing and trusting the Lord because it's really up to Him. That's what I've tried to focus my faith and my attention to. It's in God's hands and He's in control. As long as that's true, I'll be confident in myself and in the abilities that God has given me.
Q: Do you feel right now that you've never been hurt?
Taylor: I feel extremely blessed and feel better than I have since I've been at Iowa State. Running around…I feel great. I couldn't ask for a better situation.
Taylor: We'll see when we get there. I'm sure it's going to feel great and I'll be grateful for it and it will be one of many.
Q: This team struggled against the pass last year. What kind of pass rush do you see this team mounting?
Taylor: That's one thing that Coach Pelton has stressed every day…being a complete defensive end. Not only against the pass, but the run as well. We want to work pass rush every day. He's always stressing hands and feet and get off and that sort of thing…those are the sort of things that give you advantage when you're rushing the passer. We're going to try to take advantage of all those.
Q: Lowe, Tate, and Weir…Coach said the JUCOs are starting to blend in. Talk about how they're now contributing to this unit.
Taylor: Each of the guys has a role on this team. I don't know how it will break down for each individual guy, but one thing I can say is that the effort has been there and there's been a strong emphasis on getting better every day. I think that's something that the guys that have come in are trying to do…get better every day.