Muskegon Not Ready to Unleash its Secret

GoBlueWolverine Magazine trekked out to Muskegon on Friday to catch <b>Terrance Taylor</b> and the Big Reds of Muskegon High scrimmage East Kentwood, the team that ruined Muskegon's bid for an undefeated season, Traverse City West, Grand Rapids Union, and Muskegon Mona Shores. Muskegon wasn't about to let out their little secret.

On a beautiful fall day, except for the fact it is late August, Muskegon High School hosted the four schools for a scrimmage at Hackley Field. Temperature at game time was an unseasonably chilly 70 degrees, perfect football weather. A crowd of around 600 showed up for the action, including coaches scouting Muskgeon for any inkling of what the Big Reds will do with All-State standout defensive lineman Terrance Taylor. The Muskegon staff wasn't about to oblige. "We didn't use him one down on defense," Muskegon Head Coach Tony Annese said. "We don't want any teams knowing what we plan to do with him. We may even hold him out of the first game against (Detroit) Denby." Muskegon's practice jerseys and helmets, worn for the scrimmage, have no numbers or other individual markings, making identification even more difficult.

Muskegon returns a team loaded with senior talent. They look to improve on last years 9-2 record and second round playoff spot. Taylor did play at the offensive guard spot and showed off some of the skills that make him one of the most feared players in the country. At 6 foot 1, 285-pounds he is exceptionally explosive off the line, at times flying past the defenders he is suppose to block. "I do tend to do that on offense," Taylor said. "But on defense that is a good quality and I work on that a lot."

The Hackley Stadium field was split into two sections for the scrimmage. Two contests were held simultaneously with Muskgeon sitting out the first round. Each team was given 20 plays to run on offense, regardless of the outcome. 12 plays with the first string, and eight plays with the second string squad. Muskegon's first opponent in the second round was powerhouse East Kentwood. The Falcons knocked the Big Reds from the ranks of the undefeated last season, 18-14, in the Ok-Red Conference crossover game. During Friday's scrimmage Muskegon ran roughshod through the EKHS defense, scoring three times in quick succession. Even withouth the services of Taylor, the Big Reds defense stifled the Falcon attack. Coach Annese denied there was any revenge factor involved. "I look at these scrimmages as just a practice," he said. "Obviously this isn't anything like the real thing, if we get them again in the crossover game we'll do our best at that time to take care of business."

Muskegon went on to dominate their other opponents, Grand Rapids Union and Muskegon Mona Shores, in the same fashion. Primarily known as a running team, the Big Reds utilized an effective passing game as well. In the end Coach Annese said that his staff got out of the scrimmage what they expected. "We wanted a chance to see if the things we've been working on would be effective," he said. "We still have some things to work on, of course, but overall I think we looked pretty good." The defensive front looked solid even without their star, and should cause opposing coaches plenty of concern.

Terrance Taylor is a gentle giant off the field. He is easy going and always has a smile, which belies his ferocious demeanor on the field. Talking with him after the scrimmage the conversation inevitably turned to his recruitment. While at one time Taylor was thought of as a Michigan lock, a visit to a Southern school over the summer has caused him to step back. "Before the LSU trip I would have said it was Michigan all the way," he said. "After going down there with my family I really enjoyed it. The coaches down there are really great, really friendly and they like to joke around when I'm on the phone with them." Taylor also visited Michigan for Academic Day. His family was with him on that trip as well.

Taylor recently told GBW that he liked the hot weather in Baton Rouge. Would that be a factor in his decicion? "I don't think it will be that big of a deal, really," he said. "I've been in Michigan most of my life so I know what it's like here. Plus, football is played in all kinds of weather, sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's cold."

Taylor will be taking an official visit to LSU on Sept. 10. The other schools on his list include Michigan, Nebraska, Florida, and Miami. The one thing that stands out with all the schools is he likes the staffs, but in the end it may come down to a two-horse race. "I think in the end it will be LSU-Michigan," he said. Taylor would like to make a decision before the playoffs begin.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories