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Monday, October 2, 2023

Football

Junior line backer puts team before his own accolades


Steven Taylor

Junior line backer Steven Taylor, left, has been impactful for the defense, recording eight sacks and 13 tackles for loss this year. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

One thing to know about Houston junior linebacker Steven Taylor is that he can come off as a very quiet individual. What he does on the field, however, speaks volumes.

Taylor is quietly making his presence known, with eight sacks on the season so far and 13 tackles for loss.

Not too far shy of reaching UH’s season sack record of 14, but that isn’t quite what Taylor is aiming for.

The Cougar: Talk about being relentless in Thursday’s game against SMU.

Steven Taylor: I just stuck to the game plan. Every time I had the chance to make a play, I tried to come through and do so for my team.

TC: What do you think about your AAC Player of the Week honor?

ST: Honestly, I’m not too big on individual awards, so I feel like my defensive line deserves that because they open up lanes and gaps for me every game. They’re fighting down in the trenches. I give props to them. It’s hard work.

TC: Are there no individual goals set?

ST: Honestly, I just want us to win. I want us to win a championship, and I want to be able to showcase my ring. I want get a ring and show it off. That will be my individual moment.

TC: How would you describe your style of play?

ST: I’m an instinctive guy; I like to read and react. If I see the ball, I’m going to go after it. However, if I have to sacrifice myself to open up a play for another teammate, then I’m willing to do so, because I’m a team guy.

TC: What has coach said that he needs and wants from you this year?

ST: He told me I need to be more aggressive, be ready to make a lot of plays and get a lot of sacks. I just opened up my heart to him. I’m committed to listening to him and executing anything he tells me to do, no questions asked.

TC: Last year, defensive coordinator David Gibbs said that he had been grooming you for a leadership role, but he wasn’t sure if you wanted it. Why was that?

ST: I’m just a soft-spoken guy. There are a lot of definitions of leadership, and I’m the type of guy who wants to lead by example and by actions. I’m not a vocal person, but I worked on that during the offseason and this year I have been able to improve that and be more vocal on the field and more of a leader.

TC: What other differences are you noticing in how you’re performing?

ST: It’s a completely different defense. I have a lot more opportunities to showcase my ability, but that can really be attributed to the change in staff.

TC: How has your style of play changed with a new coaching staff?

ST: Coach (Todd) Orlando allows me to rush more. He allows me to blitz and try to make plays in the backfield, whereas last year, I was more so in coverage and playing that role. I have a more aggressive role now.

TC: How is the dynamic amongst linebackers in the locker room?

ST: We have a great relationship. We all vibe and have great chemistry, and that translates and radiates on the field. Everything is good. Whenever we get on each other, it’s never personal. We understand that we’re only doing it to better each other. We work well together, and it shows on the field.

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