5 Minutes at Camp With Zane Taylor

The starting center and Remington Award candidate talks about the opening of camp, finding a backup at center, and bulking up in the offseason...

Day 2 of camp. How did everything go?

Things were great. We did a really good job coming out with intensity and even more focus this second practice.

You weren't out there a lot yesterday, but were out there a little more today. Why did they hold you back yesterday?

A big part of the reason is they want to get some of the other guys a little more seasoned, a little more experience at center. In case I get hurt during the season they'll have someone ready to step right in during the season. Right now we don't have any strong backups. We're just trying to get other guys reps.

Who's your number 2 guy at the center position right now?

It's kind of shared between two guys right now, Tevita Stevens and Vyncent Jones. I think Vyncent will be listed as my backup, but Tevita is getting a little bit of reps at the beginning of camp so he knows the position, just in case something happens.

You guys are filling a new spot over at left tackle and it looks like Cullen is the guy right now. How does he look so far?

You know I think he looks really good for how long he's been here and the amount of time he's had to prepare. He's done his homework. He's doing great for a first year guy in the program.

At first glance he seems a little undersized. Is that a concern at this point?

They're definitely trying to put weight on him right now. It's something that can definitely help him out in the future. It'll be a little bit of a challenge in fall camp but he's doing what he can to put on a few extra pounds.

How is it having a quarterback coming back as a second year starter? Is it nice having that experience under center?

It really is. It was kind of difficult last year cuz you had three guys fighting for the spot. A lot of guys had to do a lot of extra reps to give the quarterbacks looks. It's a lot nicer this time around because we know who's going to be where, for the most part, and we don't have to take as many reps for the competition.

You have some of the biggest arms I've ever seen in my life. What did you do this offseason to bulk up?

Nothing illegal. That's for sure. Coach E (Doug Elisaia) has a great offseason lifting and conditioning program. I take offseason training very seriously. That's one of the things I'm proud of, the work I put in the offseason. I guess it shows.

I saw you spending a few extra minutes here with some of the younger guys. Taking more of a leadership role?

Definitely, with both the offense and offensive line. Our team needs it right now. I'm a senior. We have a few seniors who really need to take that ownership role and show the young guys how to work. Leading by example, trying to get the younger guys some work and it's going to help us out for sure.

You are up for a couple of awards this year. What would it be like to win an award like the Remington?

It would be fantastic, definitely a real honor, but right now I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just thinking about beating Pitt. That's the biggest thing, just winning games. All those awards don't come until after the season so it's not really going to help me out right now.

It's the last season in the Mountain West for the Utes. What's the goal in the last season?

Go out big and leave our mark.

And what's big?

A championship for sure. Usually our ultimate goal before the season is beat the first team we play and win the Mountain West Championship. So right now our only goals are beating Pitt and winning the Mountain West.

What about beating BYU?

That time will come definitely. That week it will have all my energy for sure.

I've seen a lot of the freshman mixed in with the ones and twos. Anybody standing out to you as far as the freshmen?

I don't know a lot of their names. There are a couple of receivers, I don't know their names yet, but there are some guys that are definitely stepping up and standing out. On the O-line I think we have some young guys that definitely have some potential, especially Cullen, coming in as a first year guy, I think he's going to do well, even though he's not a freshman.

You've got two of the better running backs in the conference in Matt and Eddie. Matt still looks a little hobbled right now, not 100%. Eddie looks great right now. What are your thoughts on those two guys?

It's great to have them both back. They both have something to offer to our team for sure. Matt, he'll be 100% when he needs to for sure. You've seen what Eddie can do and I'm sure he's going to be just as good if not better this year. I'm sure Matt, he's really been taking things seriously in the offseason and I know he wants to win games for us too. Having both those guys and having the O-line we have, we're going to get a lot of yards this year.

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