Who is the most essential coach to keep on Auburn’s coaching staff?
Feel free to comment—it's an interesting question.
Some might say offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and his explosive offense. Others might say Gene Chizik, since he’s the one orchestrating everything. Tracy Rocker is a Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy winner, while running backs coach Curtis Luper and safeties coach Phillip Lolley are nationally known recruiters.
But make no mistake about it, Trooper Taylor is at the very least in the conversation. At the most, he’s the most indispensible coach.
Just look at Auburn’s roster of receivers in 2008. The top four receivers were (in order of receptions): Rod Smith, Montez Billings, Tommy Trott and Robert Dunn.
This group COMBINED for just over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns that season.
Granted, the 2008 offense was terrible. But a big problem towards the end of Tommy Tuberville’s tenure was a lack of firepower from the receivers.
Now—one season and two recruiting classes later—wide receiver is arguably the strongest position on the offense. Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachary came out of nowhere to establish themselves as playmakers. Kodi Burns moved outside and had some success. Quindarius Carr has developed nicely. Highly touted recruits Philip Lutzenkirchen, Emory Blake, Deangelo Benton, Trovon Reed, Shaun Kitchens and Antonio Goodwin also appear on the roster.
Who’s behind the radical transformation? Probably a combination of Trooper Taylor and Gus Malzahn.
Coach Malzahn puts the receivers in great positions to make plays, but Taylor has gotten the most out of players who have bought into his hard work, no drops mentality. Taylor often keeps the receivers after practice to do drills as “punishment” for missed assignments or opportunities.
In fact, the one time he didn’t this fall, it was a news story.
In addition to his work with the receivers, Trooper is the assistant head coach, and is generally recognized as the lead recruiter on many top targets. He’s great at relating to high school players and families, because of his track record with how he treats his players.
He becomes like a father to them, because he personally lost his father as a teenager.
What makes Taylor special is the kind of person he is. If you have ever seen an interview with him, you know he cares about his players and loves being at Auburn. He is a big reason why recruits keep talking about the “family atmosphere” at Auburn recently.
If you don’t know his life story, check out the second link below. It’ll give you an appreciation for the person he has become.
Since he isn’t the head coach, he’s allowed to be himself—living life to the fullest, while coaching the game he loves. He can jump around, give chest bumps to players, and get Auburn players and fans alike fired up.
Expect to see more Trooper Towels at Jordan Hare as they have returned to the bookstores with another football season’s arrival. Taylor will play a big role in attempting to help Auburn take the next step towards competing for the SEC.
For more on Trooper Taylor, check out these articles.
- The first was reposted by Phillip Marshall from auburnundercover.com regarding an old article that talks about Trooper in his high school football days.
- The second link is an article that talks about Taylor’s life experiences and how he has turned that around to help the community.
- The third is a column from by Kevin Scarbinsky, describing the turnaround and attitude that Taylor brought to Auburn last year.