Q&A - Mat Taylor

Dawgman.com spoke Tuesday with Mat Taylor, Head Coach at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash. Taylor was also the Head Coach for the West Team at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl last Friday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and we got his thoughts on the five prospects currently committed to the University of Washington that played in the game.

On Dane Crane being the No. 1 center for the West team - "I would say all the linemen together…it was really neat. I've done these games before and they got along right away. There was cohesiveness. They were always together and having fun off the field. And Dane, he was very impressive. We voted him as one of our captains, one of our two offensive captains. We felt all throughout the week, whenever we needed to huddle up he took charge of the huddle and was really good with his assignments and for the most part really good with his snaps. It's hard when you only have four days working with new quarterbacks and stuff, but he did a great job. There's a tremendous upside with Dane at the University of Washington."

On him having to shot-gun snap for the first time - "He said he had done it before, but they are pretty much under center a lot. I don't remember ball park…I think he said maybe 20 percent in shotgun. So it was new to do it every single play but he did a great job."

On what he saw from Crane's play on the field - "We just tried to run a couple of simple zone schemes - inside zone and outside zone - so he did a great job with them. Sometimes he would have to work back on a 1-technique to work up to the MIK 'backer, but we had no problems at all. A lot of times when it was short yardage I would look to our O-line coach, coach Baldwin, and a lot of times it was, 'We've got Crane, so if we double-team 'em, we'll be good' - so there was a lot of confidence in him."

On Darrell Daniels and his play - "I definitely see some things he needs to work on, but obviously with Darrell he has physical abilities. But I think the thing he'll need to work on up here is continuing to work on his hands, like all receivers do, and his flexibility. But he's definitely a presence out there. He scored our second touchdown on a nice slant route. Two plays before he had a great crack-back block to spring Anu Solomon on a scramble to get us inside the red zone.

"He was a fun kid to coach. All the kids, it's humbling at first. At first they are trying to figure each other out because they are the best at their school and their conference or in their state…but after Day One my receiver coach and I still are talking about how much of a pleasure it was to coach him. He has a great personality, a great sense of humor. He worked hard. He worked really hard throughout the week. At times we had some kids that were hurt and he was having to get every rep at practice and he never complained."

How does he compare to Kasen Williams at the same point in time? - "Honestly - and this will probably come across as biased - but Kasen was just much more polished with his routes by nature of what we do at Skyline. Not that we're glamorous coaches but it's a huge emphasis of our pass game. I don't know what it was like at his school. The physical abilities yeah, but…he's bigger than Kasen. He's thicker. Where I think Kasen is more muscular and stronger, but Darrell is a big kid. He's really a big kid. I don't know what he was like when he was the Rising Stars camp, but he's a big, imposing figure."

On John Ross and his personality on and off the field - "I think from the beginning he was just a quiet kid. He's reserved, but he's as quick as any kid I've been around. I would kind of, in a way, compare him to Jaydon Mickens - who I coached last year in the game - with overall quickness and hands. He's bigger than Jaydon. He just looks so fluid and smooth out there. He does a really nice job. We had a reverse called up for him and a big play at the end of the game - on 3rd and 2 and I went for a Jailbreak and Go with him - and he just smoked his guy but we just underthrew it. It would have put the game away. That was the kind of confidence we had in him in the game - we wanted to get him touches. As many as we could. There were a couple times where he was there and we didn't hit him or we didn't see him…you only have four days to get ready so it's hard to get mad at the quarterbacks.

"He's talented. Like I said, he's quick and smooth and has great hands. He definitely belongs out there in a big way."

On comparing him to Mickens and how they might be used - "I think he's definitely taller than Jaydon. I know he's close to six foot. He's taller than me, and I'm about 5-10.5. I think he's kind of your typical two-way go guy; you want to put him in the slot and get him out in space and let him run and take advantage of some misdirection stuff with him. And in the return game I'm sure he's a guy that will get a shot at punt and kickoff returns."

On Daeshon Hall - "He's tall and I'd say he's very raw. He's got a frame that can put a lot of weight on. I think he definitely has to put some weight on at the next level, but he did a good job for us. He's kind of unassuming out there as far as…he just went about his business. He wasn't a big trash talker or anything. He just worked hard. Rex Norris from Kentwood, who coached him, constantly commented on how talented he could be. Sometimes those long guys are hard to block, they can split gaps and stuff like that."

On Elijah Qualls and where his future is along the defensive line in college - "He's definitely going to be a 3-tech, and he's definitely going to be a kid that is going to be on the defensive line. I don't know how much…what he might bring on offense. He could be a short-yardage guy but he's definitely a defensive player.

"What a wonderful young man…full of energy and very positive. Never, ever complained about anything. I really enjoyed coaching him. But like I said, he's definitely one of those guys that, when I saw him in the halls or in the hotels or anything, he was giving me hi-fives. He always had a great greeting. I think he's got all the qualities you want of a kid that has some leadership abilities. If he continues to grow and continues to flourish, I could see him being a role player like a Captain when he's a junior or a senior for the Huskies."

Did his attitude and personality rub off on others and make a difference? - "Definitely. On Wednesday - it was our third practice - we brought him over to offense and we told him we would get him some touches but that he was a defensive player first. He came over and was just a student of the game. When he was over on defense he was helping take charge of the huddle and he just had a presence about him that was unique."

Did you notice the UW guys bonding as a group and building recruiting momentum? - "The biggest thing I saw was…I know that Darrell and Elijah were roommates up there and I know they were really excited when they saw the Husky Bus (laugh) and all that stuff. I know Elijah made a comment to me that he was going to be Tosh 2.0 in recruiting, so…but yeah. John Ross kind of fooled me. I had no idea he was going to commit to U-Dub. Every time I talked to him he talked about southern schools…I should have picked up on it because his Dad was wearing a Husky jacket every day at practice."

Those jackets can be misleading! - "His Dad told me that he was a big John Timu fan, because John went to their school (Long Beach Jordan), so…"

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