ACC Kickoff: Q&A with Kareen Taylor

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – Kareen Taylor, a 6-0, 200-pound safety from Hopewell, Va., enters his third season as a starter, and is ranked the No. 14 safety in the country by The Sporting News. He spoke to the league's top sportswriters Sunday during ACC Football Kickoff. Read and listen to what he had to say…

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  • Also see: Q&A with Ronnie McGill

    KAREEN TAYLOR (36:56)

    What have you been doing during the summer?
    I'm just pretty much been focused on football and school. Since I've been at North Carolina, I usually work during the summer, but now I've switched it up and just focused more on football and school

    What have been some of your past summer jobs?
    I worked at a car dealership. I worked at a YMCA; I'm still employed there.

    What did you do at the car dealership?
    When they get new cars, I usually just take the cars, strip the plastic off the inside, take the tape off the outside and run them through the car wash. That was pretty much it.

    Why is it this year you decided not to work during the summer?
    This year was going to be a hard summer, so I didn't want to overwork myself like I did previously. I just worked out hard and hit my books hard – I needed that. I had a couple of hard classes that I needed to take so I could graduate on time. That's pretty much why.

    Why did you think it was going to be a hard summer?
    I knew the classes I was going to take was going to make it a hard summer. I had to workout and then I had to go study. There was little time for rest. That's why I did what I had to do.

    What class did you have to take this summer?
    Math. You know how math goes. Math tests, Algebra equations… It's simple enough to some. But to me it's another language.

    How does the defense look this year?
    We've got good chemistry. We've got good depth. This summer we worked on some things we needed to correct from last year like making the plays we should make. It's just becoming a good defense.

    What specifically did you need to work on to make the plays you didn't make?
    We worked on technique. Folks weren't running to the football; you know, the simple things. Running out plays, watching film and just knowing everybody's position. That's how you become better. Not just at one position. The whole defense knows pretty much what to do.

    Do you feel like your building something on this defense?
    Yes. It's going to be an exciting season coming up. Right now, I can go to corner or somebody else can go to corner. Somebody can come to safety and somebody can go to nickel. The young guys from last year, they're on the right track. They know what to do. They helped us on special teams. That gives us a slight edge.

    Has Jacoby Watkins worked out with you guys?
    Yes, he's worked out. I'm impressed by how he's come along. He's been with us the whole summer. His speed hasn't gone anywhere. He's still got the same speed. When he gets the pads on, we're going to put him in the mix a little bit and get his back dirty. He's going to get back to his job. Pretty much, he's looked good again. No troubles at all.

    What are your thoughts on a 12-game schedule?
    I look forward to the extra game. Who wants the season to end early? If the season ends early, then you've got to go back out and work. So I'm pretty excited about that.

    Are you excited about the trip up to Notre Dame?
    It is way up the road, but we're excited about it. But we're looking at it like it's a regular game. It's just another team, another group of guys that do the same thing we do. We just looking to take one game at a time.

    Why do you think this is a really important year?
    It's really important to the players. We know we can do better and this year we can prove we are what we say we are. This summer, since I've been here, we've worked harder than ever to reach that goal.

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