Interview with Ike

If Ike Taylor has gained as much confidence on the field as he has with reporters since the end of last season, Steelers fans won't have to worry about the young cornerback. <br><br> On Wednesday, the second-year pro from Louisiana-Lafayette fielded questions like he's been doing it his entire life. Here's the transcript:

How confident were you last year?

I was very confident but you still have to learn that dictionary of a playbook we have. Once you get past that, make a couple plays on the field, you start to get your confidence back. It's all about confidence. Just get in that playbook. Hit the playbook, make a couple plays and everything else is downhill.

What was your college playbook like?

We just played man. We played a couple of zones but other than that we just manned up the whole game. It was probably a couple of pages, nothing compared to the one right now.

Is one year enough to learn the playbook?

It depends on the player. The player wants to come in and play he'll do whatever it takes to get on the field. I ain't like studying but I want to get on the field so I had to get in the playbook. It takes awhile.

Did you play in the Senior Bowl?

I didn't play in the Senior Bowl. I played in the Hula Bowl.

Were you ever apprehensive about that next level of play?

Never. Actually I thought I should've been at Miami or Florida State. Things didn't work out but I still got the opportunity to play and made the best of it. I didn't miss nothing. I'm here.

So you were never wondered about it?

I wasn't worried. I asked a couple friends. I asked them how life is at Miami, Florida State. Other than that I'm here.

Do you think Ricardo Colclough's apprehensive?

No. From what I've seen, it looks like he has a lot of confidence. That's all football is about, confidence. Plus he did good at the Senior Bowl, so he has nothing but confidence. Coming from a small school doesn't mean anything. As long as you've got confidence you can do whatever.

Will you give him any advice?

First thing I'll tell him is to come in humble, come in hungry. Always be hungry. Stay hungry. It's all how hungry you be.

Will he be humble coming from Tusculum?

He'll be very humble. He won't have a hard time at all.

Every hear of Tusculum?

I never heard of it, but when I came up a lot of guys were saying they never heard of my school either.

Could you have started last year?

Nah. I was grateful. I had some great veterans in front of me to help me out. They saw me struggle at first. They gave me a lot of help. Since then I've gained confidence.

How will the vets accept Ricardo?

Aw, they'll accept him. They'll answer his questions. When I got here, wasn't nobody lookin all crazy at me. Everybody greeted me with open arms. Anything I needed, even off the field. Rides to the grocery store. Like Deshea (Townsend), I didn't have a car here and he let me use his car for a whole month. I thought, man, this is unusual. I didn't think vets would be like that.

Thought they'd haze you?

Exactly. But it was totally the opposite.

Wouldn't you think they'd worry about their jobs?

If I was a vet I'd probably think that too. They were too confident. You could tell by their level of play and how they play. They were just more confident. It wouldn't matter who they'd bring in. If you're a football player, it's all about competition and you've gotta love competition. Competition is either going to make you better or make you worse.

Do they realize you could help them?

I think I bring out the young in them, the way I talk, the way I dress, just being relaxed. They're comfortable with me; I'm comfortable with them. Pretty sure Ricardo will feel the same way. He'll see. There's no clashing. You do good, we're behind you. You do bad, we're still behind you.

What made you think in college that you could play in the NFL?

I've been thinking that since I was small, especially when I got in college and played that position just one year, 12 games. That's all it was: confidence, being aggressive. I just wanted the opportunity and I was grateful I got it.

Is there a difference between wanting it and knowing you could take advantage of it?

Gotta do both. You've got to want it and take advantage and that's what I did. You can't teach speed but they'll teach everything else, and I knew I had a lot of speed. That was it.

How about this year? What's your role?

Whatever the team needs. My personal goal is to be that shutdown corner on the No. 1 receiver on the other side. That's my goal. The team goal is whatever the coach needs.

Do you think you could start this year if there were no other cornerbacks?

Any place you play you play to start, but you've gotta make plays. I don't want to talk about it. I just want to get on the field and make plays.

Now that you've been here, do you appreciate where you came from?

I appreciate it real good. A lot of hard work. A lot of knocks on small schools but I think people are seeing you've got good guys coming from small schools who didn't get the opportunity to go to big schools or be exposed on TV as much.

Is the difference that you didn't get pampered as much?

We had two good corners, me and Charles Tillman, so coach was like 'Just lock up.' Coming on the field in the NFL, read faster, the big guys -- 320, 3-plus -- they're moving faster, so it's just a game of speed, the speed of the game.

Is the lifestyle rougher?

We didn't have all that. It was grinding. We grinded a lot.

What do you mean by grinding?

Very hard work, especially down low in New Orleans there's a lot of practicing in the mud. We didn't have an indoor facility so we had to practice in the horse pasture, where the horses were.

Are you kidding me?

Oh yeah. We had to practice where the horses was at.

And if the horses were there? Then we didn't practice over there.

But didn't they usually leave something behind?

Oh yeah. We tried to clean that up, though.

Did you ever land in a pile?

No, but the smell was tough. You'd just smell, your clothes, helmet. The locker room smelled like a pasture. It was something you had to deal with. You didn't even think about it. You're just playing football. Right now I'm thinking about it but when I was doing it I wasn't thinking about it.

What did you think of this palace the first time?

Hey, we got lights that work.

Were you able to watch film in college?

Oh, yeah. A lot of film, probably the same procedures just not as much.

Thanks, Ike.

Alright, man.

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