Taylor waits for chance with Ducks

2009-08-28T19:00:00Z Taylor waits for chance with DucksBy Jesse Sowa, For the Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
August 28, 2009 7:00 pm  • 

EUGENE - Tim Taylor could be considered Oregon's utility guy.

The junior can be thrown in at punter, holder, onside kicker or even placekicker, if you need him.

"Anything that's going to help our team win, I want to do it," said Taylor, a 2005 Corvallis High graduate who is getting ready to start his third and final season with the Ducks after one year at Santa Barbara (Calif.) City College.

"Wherever they put me, I'll do my best to help us win."

Taylor is competing for starting punter with true freshman Jackson Rice, a 2009 U.S. Army All-American.

Rice looked to have a foot up on Taylor after the final scrimmage on Aug. 25 in preparation for Thursday's opener at Boise State.

Coaches will make the final decision in the next few days.

"I try and teach him any way I can and he teaches me a lot, too," Taylor said of Rice. "We can learn from each other."

Taylor had what he considered a sub-par spring. His head "wasn't in the game," with a lot of other things going on his life.

But he refocused during the summer, lifting weights and working primarily on his drops.

He came back for fall camp as a better player.

"When he showed up on the first day you could see the mechanics and technique had improved," said Tom Osborne, Oregon's special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.

Oregon head coach Chip Kelly saw the difference as well.

"Tim Taylor is probably the most improved player in our camp from last spring, and I think it's because Jackson Rice is here," Kelly said. "That competition brings the best out in everybody. I feel comfortable with both those guys."

Taylor was the second-string punter last season. His one punt, against Washington State, went 39 yards and was downed inside the 20.

In 2008, with backup quarterback Nate Costa being lost to injury before the season, Taylor was the primary holder on field goals and point-after tries. Osborne credited Taylor for his good-hands work on some bad snaps.

"As a pure holder, he did a really nice job," Osborne said.

Costa will return to those duties this season, with Taylor ready in an emergency.

Taylor is also Oregon's best onside kick specialist, Osborne said.

With Oregon's success in 2008, he put that skill to the test just once, against Boise State. But the Ducks were unable to recover the kick.

Taylor, who redshirted the 2007 season, chose Oregon over other schools in the state because he says the Ducks were the most welcoming.

He's president of Oregon's Sigma Pi fraternity. Taylor plans to graduate after spring term with a degree in planning, public policy and management and hopes to work in public service.

Taylor said Oregon's welcome provided him experiences he wouldn't have had anywhere else.

"I'm really appreciative of that and I've met a lot of friends," he said. "On the field and off I've had amazing opportunities."

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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