Taylor gets his feet wet at cornerback

Injuries in the secondary led to freshman Stanvon Taylor making his first start at cornerback. How did things go?

Going into Oklahoma's game against Tulsa, the status of senior cornerback Aaron Colvin was up in the air. After being kicked in the jaw the previous week, Colvin had a broken tooth and a possible concussion.

The Sooners secondary was already a young group but having to play without Colvin sounded like a tough chore for OU's young guns.

But it did mean an opportunity for freshman Stanvon Taylor. Coming out of Tulsa (Okla.) East Central, OU fans have been excited about the electric athlete. Saturday was the first taste of just exactly why everyone is so pumped.

"He was playing good," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "He just made some young mistakes that young players do. I think his position could be better on the football, but again, we're pleased with his progress up until this point.

"He has all the movements you like for a corner, and he has great awareness and a lot of pride in the way he plays."

Taylor, in his first start, had three tackles and broke up two passes. He was picked on often by Tulsa and also was called for a pass interference penalty.

The freshman was told last Wednesday he would be starting, and he did everything in his power to make sure word didn't leak out.

"By the third day of practice I kept going up with the first group and coach (Mike) Stoops kept telling me to get up there and work everything. I felt comfortable with a lot of things I was doing that week at practice."

There was some speculation of Taylor being a two-way threat, but Taylor said that was never seriously considered. Even though he was a dynamic wide receiver in high school and at summer camps, his sole focus was cornerback for the next level.

He certainly looked like a cornerback in his first start. He understands people will make a big deal about him being a freshman starter so it's up to him to make people forget that he was in high school at this time last year.

"When it's your chance, you just have to step up your game," Taylor said. "Watching film back from the game, I can see a lot of things I need to work on. The coaches push you to get better even if you think you did good, they push you to get better. It's a learning opportunity."

The learning curve, however, isn't as difficult for Taylor. Right as Taylor was starting to get comfortable, he injured his left ankle late in the first half. Taylor didn't return to the game but hasn't missed a day of practice this week.

His teammates were pleased with his progress, too.

"He was really good out of his breaks and stuff like that," redshirt freshman cornerback Zack Sanchez said. "He was nervous the day before, but who wouldn't be? He settled down by the time the game got here. I told him to just go out there and do your best."

And Taylor, at his best, is showing OU fans they have every right to be excited about the future.


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