Not the case though for defensive tackle Adrian Taylor, who had to fight through a pair of Colorado offensive linemen at times during last weekend’s 43-10 victory over the Buffaloes.
“I was telling him today he was looking like the Adrian of old,” said linebacker Travis Lewis. “He was taking up double teams. I was out there. I was playing with him, he was like taking on a double team, and it was like, ‘They’re double teaming me. They’re double teaming me,’ you know, in Adrian’s voice, so y’all can just imagine how that sounded.”
It sounds pretty good for a Sooner defense that’s really been missing a full strength defensive tackle that has the ability to be dominant inside.
“He’s getting healthier,” Lewis said. “He’s on probably one and one-fourth of a leg, so, you know, for a player to be playing like that, it just adds to the confidence of this team.”
And it’s refreshing, especially for a player still battling back from a broken ankle in last year’s Sun Bowl.
“I surprised myself, I mean, being able [to draw the double team],” Taylor said. “I mean, I didn’t get knocked back one time, and I was just like, ‘This is a blessing right there just to come this far, you know, this fast and I was yelling ‘they’re double teaming’ in a joking way because I was like I couldn’t move, and I was excited for myself.”
Not only does it signify his improving health, but the fact that he’s demanding double teams from time to time shows offenses’ awareness of him on the field, something the Sooner defensive line has been sorely lacking.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking out there, I mean, getting some respect, you know, something like I was accustomed to last year,” Taylor said. “You know. I mean, with Gerald [McCoy] or whoever was out there with me and just to get a double team means that you’re doing something right.”
And he’s taking pressure off the rest of the defensive line and defense, for that matter.
“As we were talking about earlier, if you’re demanding double teams, then it makes it a lot easier for the backers to, I mean, see everything,” Taylor said. “It’s a lot clearer, and it just makes the game easier, stopping the run game goes to the passing game.”
There’s no doubt his improving presence due to better health is a big boost for this defense.
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