Grant Traylor: Former Herd QB returns as assistant coach for Tulsa
It wasn't so long ago that Tulsa quarterbacks coach Press Taylor was roaming Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Taylor was a quarterback for the Marshall Thundering Herd in 2009 and 2010 before graduating and taking a graduate assistant coaching position at Tulsa in 2011.
Tulsa and Marshall play a 3:30 p.m., Saturday, football game in Huntington.
"I'm excited to get back," Taylor said. "I haven't been back since I graduated in December of 2010, so it'll be fun to get back and see some friends and familiar faces and see the place I lived for two years."
Taylor's story is quite remarkable, actually.
After leaving Marshall, he took the GA spot and immediately impressed Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship to the point of being offered the vacant quarterbacks coach position.
Taylor has taken it in stride and overseen a pair of great quarterbacks during his time at Tulsa -- G.J. Kinne, who starred last year, and Cody Green, who is now with the Golden Hurricane after transferring from the University of Nebraska - the same school where Taylor's older brother Zac played.
"As a young guy, you don't get that responsibility too often," Taylor said. "I'm thankful for coach Blankenship that he's trusted me to lead that group as my own position group."
Taylor said Blankenship is in there helping him with quarterbacks often, but possibly the biggest influence on how he conducts his quarterback sessions is Marshall-based.
"I was thinking about it today and a lot of what I do, I got from (Marshall co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks) Coach (Tony) Petersen at Marshall during my senior year," Taylor said. "He was a great coach and he was a guy that I looked up to. I took a couple of things from him that I liked and I've seen it in the way he coaches (Rakeem) Cato."
Taylor said his biggest memories of Marshall and Joan C. Edwards Stadium were the summer workouts -- a time when no one was in the stadium and it was just the quarterbacks and receivers working together.
Ironically, this isn't his first time on the visitor's sideline, either.
"I think it was my spring game during my junior year," Taylor said. "That was the only time I was ever on that sideline."
As far as the game atmosphere goes, he said he remembers it well and has tried to get it across to his players exactly how big a factor the Marshal fans can be.
"I've tried to tell them the Joan is nothing to mess with," Taylor said. "Those people get fired up, they get after it and they'll get involved in the game -- especially with the offense playing as well as it is. They'll get fired up for them and they'll rally behind the defense and they'll try to make things hard on us."
Taylor didn't find out it was Marshall's Homecoming game until early this week, but said it couldn't be more fitting for him personally.
"It'll definitely be a different experience wearing a different color and seeing all that green in the stands, but it'll be fun," Taylor said.
RIVER CITIES MUAA: The River Cities chapter of the Marshall University Alumni Association is hosting a Homecoming TGIF reception Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. at Elks Club Lodge 313, 1015 4th Ave.
Admission is $15 and includes music by DJ Chuck Black, hors d'oeuvres, drinks, dancing and prizes.
For more information contact Connie Reed at MacReedo's, (304) 617-7914.
QB CLUB: The Huntington Quarterback Club will have lunch at Pullman Plaza Hotel at noon on Thursday.
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $12 for members and $15 for non-members.
For more information contact the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, (304) 696-4661.
Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).