Taywan Taylor has been hard at work this summer. The Western Kentucky wide receiver knows that his numbers from 2015 will be tough to top. It was the best season by a receiver in Toppers history. He set school records for receptions, 86; yards, 1,467; and touchdowns, 17. The Pleasure Ridge Park High School grad enters his senior season as the school career leader in yards and touchdowns and needs just 17 catches to move to the top of that list. Western Kentucky is coming off of a 12-2 season. The Toppers kick off 2016 on Thursday, September 1, hosting Rice.
How much have you exceeded your expectations at Western, or did you expect to put up these kinds of numbers?
I totally expected to put up these kinds of numbers. My first year coming in, I just knew what I had to do. I knew what my expectation was of myself, and I knew that I wanted to come in and didn’t want to redshirt. I wanted to play right away. I knew that me taking time off would be too much for me, and I felt like I had to grind to put in that work. That’s what’s motivated me and pushed me harder.
How worried are you about the quarterback situation, if at all?
There are no worries at all for me. I feel like each and every one of them is capable of bringing something to the table. I feel like each and every one of them can do things differently. They each have their own games and they’re all here for a reason. This is Division I football – this is what we come here for. We come here to compete. They know what we did last year, and they know that last year is in the past. It’s a new season and it’s a new mission. I’ve got confidence in all of them.
What are you going to miss about Brandon Doughty?
That’s my guy. What he did, I think he set the bar high, and I think all the talk about this quarterback situation is because of what he did. That’s a testament to how hard Brandon worked. He cut all the doubters out and played with a chip on his shoulder, and he left it all out on the field.
What makes Coach Brohm so successful?
He’s a mastermind. He’s a grinder. He approaches his coaching staff and his job just like we approach practice. He comes in energized and he’s ready to go to work. He’s organized and I believe in his system, and that’s the reason I came here.
How has the perception of Western Kentucky football changed in Louisville?
It’s great knowing the impact you can have on society and the youth. Before I went to Western, I just wanted to play football. Nobody has to know what you do every day – you just go out and do it. You make your own path.
Have you modeled your game after a certain receiver?
I watch a lot of NFL players. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones. I try to model my game after a lot of them. All of them do different stuff, and that’s what I kind of want to do.
What have you focused on over the summer?
I want to bring something different to the table this year. Last year, I tried to stretch the field and be a playmaker, but this year, I want to perfect my craft.
How much is the next level on your mind?
It’s on my mind, but I know I’ve got college football ahead of me. I know I’ve got a season ahead of me. That’s going to take care of itself, and I just trust in the process. The dream is free – the journey is not.
How much have you guys talked about that week two trip to Alabama?
Everybody is talking about it, Alabama, game two. This is what you dream for as a little kid. We grew up watching Alabama every day, and we obviously know who they are. They’re the defending national champion. We’re going to go in there focused, and we’re going to go in there with energy just like them. We know that if we go in and play the way we know we’re capable of playing, we can do some great things and maybe shock the world. We’re obviously looking forward to it, but we’ve got Rice first. We don’t want to look ahead. The mission is to win another conference championship.
How much confidence did you guys gain from the game at LSU last season?
We just went in there with a killer instinct; we stayed focused on the task at hand. We just wanted to go in there and play hard, no matter the conditions. We know we’re going to have adversity, and that’s good for us. VT
By KENT TAYLOR, Contributing Writer