Taylor says OK to OK State

Tennessee receivers coach Trooper Taylor, who brought a unique excitement to the Vols' program, has accepted a job as co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, according to sources.

Taylor has been on UT's staff since 2004.

He was a candidate to replace David Cutcliffe as Tennessee's offensive coordinator, but when head coach Phillip Fulmer balked at naming Taylor, the Texas native jumped at the chance to be a coordinator in Stillwater, Okla.

Taylor, who also served as assistant head coach in charge of player development, coached UT running backs in 2004-05 before taking over the receivers in 2006. In 2004, Cedric Houston and Gerald Riggs Jr. each rushed for 1,000 yards – the only pair of Vols to accomplish that feat in the same season.

Taylor is credited with helping maximize the talents of Robert Meachem, who set a school record for receptions in 2006 and became a first-round NFL draft pick.

With a new cast of receivers this season, Taylor managed to coax 73 catches for 100 yards out of Lucas Taylor (no relation), 53 catches out of Austin Rogers and 49 out of Josh Briscoe.

Taylor, known for his chest-bumping, towel waving and high fiving of players and fans alike, also interviewed for the offensive coordinator's job at Baylor, where he played defensive back.

Taylor, who is from Cuero, Texas, had a chance to join the Texas staff two years ago but declined a chance to return to his home state to remain at Tennessee. He also flirted with becoming head coach at Howard University.

He was passed over for offensive coordinator after the 2005 season when Fulmer hired Cutcliffe, who had served 17 years on the UT staff before leading the Ole Miss program for six years.

Taylor, 37, was not agreeable to being passed over again. He has expressed a desire to become a head coach and he felt the best avenue to achieve that goal would be as a coordinator at a major school.

The departures of Taylor and Cutcliffe might not be the only ones on the UT staff. Cutcliffe is believed to want to hire UT recruiting coordinator Matt Luke and running backs coach Kurt Roper. Each worked for Cutcliffe at Ole Miss.

That would leave Fulmer with the tedious task of replacing four offensive coaches. After the 2005 season, he replaced three – offensive coordinator Randy Sanders, receivers coach Pat Washington and offensive line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens.

It is not known at this time whether Taylor will coach UT in the Outback Bowl Jan. 1.

With Taylor leaving, UT has just one minority coach on its staff – secondary coach Larry Slade.


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