It's no secret that one of the two biggest questions for the Volunteer football team this season is the receiving corps. Gone are Robert Meachem, Jayson Swain, and Bret Smith. Stepping into their roles are . . . well, no one really knows right now. Lucas Taylor and Austin Rogers maybe. Or perhaps a couple of the new guys like Brent Vinson or Ahmad Paige or some others.
It's also no secret, though, that receivers coach Trooper Taylor has practically worked miracles in his short stint at Tennessee. He's already rejuvenated an underachieving group of running backs and an underachieving set of wide receivers. This year's task is a bit different in that he doesn't have the extra leverage of disappointment to use as motivation for the players he'll be coaching, but for some reason, I think he'll get it done.
Which is why I thought the following deserved re-posting. From one year ago today at the old site (the links are all audio links):
Receivers coach Trooper Taylor — a character with character — is giving basketball coach Bruce Pearl a run for his money as the best interview on Rocky Top. Speaking with Dave Hooker and the guys from SportsAnimal99.com’s Sports Page last Friday, coach Taylor offered his thoughts on:
- what David Cutcliffe brings to the team;
- whether receiver Robert Meachem will finally live up to expectations of Vol fans this year: Best line: "I told him, ‘Potential’s not a compliment. That means you haven’t done it.’"
- how best to rotate receivers during the course of a game;
- the autonomy of position coaches at UT. Hear Dave Hooker giggle when Taylor admits that "[Coach Fulmer’s] the head coach, if he wants me to peel potatoes in between series, that’s what I’ll do because he’s the head coach."
- underclassmen receivers Josh Briscoe, Lucas Taylor, Austin Rogers, and . . . Casey Woods, who "may not run out of sight in three days on a curvy road, but he can catch it."
Coach Taylor’s mother once made her 15 kids clean up a beach they had been visiting before they went home. Nothing special about that except that they didn’t make the mess they had to clean up. Taylor still remembers his mother’s words to the kids when they finished:
"The Taylors always leave a place better than the way they found it."
Coach Taylor’s been living that lesson since he arrived at Tennessee. The running backs are better than they were when he arrived, and this season he brings his infectious enthusiasm, wit, and wisdom to an underachieving receiver corps.
Here’s to hoping Taylor’s mother’s words ring true this fall.