Auburn, Ala.--Courtney Taylor, a redshirt junior, has been an Auburn football player three years, two as a key member of the offense and one as a redshirt making the conversion from high school quarterback to a college wide receiver.
Each of those years the Tigers scored more than 40 points vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs as they coasted to blowout victories over the SEC West opponent.
On Saturday, the talented receiver and his teammates will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening night loss when Coach Sylvester Croom’s Bulldogs come to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Taylor says he expects to see an improved team over the squad the Tigers defeated 43-14 last September in a game that wasn’t as close as the score.
“They are a pretty good defense,” says Taylor, who has been watching video of the Bulldogs, who cruised to a 38-6 opening night victory over Murray State.
“Croom has got those guys playing tough,” Taylor notes. “He has got them believing they can win. That is the thing you see in those guys. They are flying around like we’re the best. They are going to be a good defense.”
Courtney Taylor is one of Auburn's most talented players.
While the Bulldogs were starting the season 1-0, the Tigers had a frustating opener they lost 23-14 to Georgia Tech on a night in which the Tigers came agonizingly close time after time to making a big play that could have turned the momentum in their favor.
“On so many plays, especially the receivers, we were an inch away from breaking a tackle,” Taylor says. “The thing with our coach (Greg Knox), we play together as a unit. He is always on us about ‘downfield blocking, downfiled blocking’ and helping this teammate get in the end zone. I feel like we are just so close to being a deadly bunch at anytime. That is something we need to continue to work on.”
Knox says he liked the intensity he saw from Taylor and the other receivers in the opener. “I had no problem with the effort,” Knox says. “We made a few mistakes and dropped a few balls, but the effort was there every play.”
Taylor caught six passes for 80 yards and had a 22-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Cox called back on a holding call by the ACC officiating crew.
Taylor says the focus is on putting that game in the rear view mirror and getting ready for the SEC opener.
“I feel like we have a real good team,” the junior says. “We have a talented team. Now it comes down to us not making too many mistakes and beating ourselves.
“I am not taking anything away from Georgia Tech because they came out and played a good game, but we had so many opportunities and that is on us.”