Former Herd QB coaching at Tulsa
HUNTINGTON -- Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne has noticed something more from his position coach this week.
"He's been working extra hard," he said. "I don't know if he wants to beat you guys or what."
So the light in Tulsa quarterbacks coach Press Taylor's office might be staying on a tad later these particular days, but, hey, the man's got a job to do.
Even if that means spending a few extra hours dissecting video and creating a game plan clever enough to knock off his alma mater.
Yes, Taylor -- that Taylor, the one who spent last season serving as Marshall University's primary scout team quarterback -- will be on the opposite sideline when the Thundering Herd travels to Tulsa on Saturday for a noon kickoff at Chapman Stadium. Root Sports and Fox Sports Ohio will televise the game.
He's the Golden Hurricane's offensive graduate assistant coach, a role that handles quarterback responsibilities.
As the son of a coach, this has been an opportunity-in-the making.
"I think once I got to college I knew I wanted to coach football," said Taylor, whose father coached defensive backs at Kansas State in the 1980s. "Being around it more and more, you learn a lot more through college football. You learn more about the position. It was just something that intrigued me.
"I kind of knew right away that's what I wanted to do. I always kept an eye out and tried to learn more from the coaches. Picked their brains a little bit more."
Among them were Marshall's own Tony Peterson and Bill Legg.
You see, Taylor arrived at MU in the spring of 2009 with, as he put it, "high expectations." The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder was fresh off a decorated junior college career at Butler in El Dorado, Kan., where he won back-to-back national championships, compiling a 17-1 record as a starter.
He was thrown right into the mix for the Herd's QB job along with fellow JUCO newbie Jake Laudenslayer and returnees Brian Anderson and Mark Cann.
The best he did was runner-up to Anderson, who started Marshall's next 25 games spanning the two seasons Taylor was there.
Realizing he was out of the running for serious reps, Taylor went into the 2010 season still with a goal to make an impact.
He turned to coaching.
"It didn't work out where there was an opportunity for me to compete for the job," Taylor said. "It was just kind of the situation I was in and I recognized that pretty quick.
"But I kind of felt like it was my job as a senior on that football team to kind of take these younger guys in and help them as much as I could. I tried to help A.J. (Graham) and Eddie (Sullivan) as much as I could with the game of football and learning that offense, particularly. "
Legg, the Herd's co-offensive coordinator, took notice. He thought Taylor had a place in the business.
"I think Press Taylor is a very bright young man," Legg said. "He's a hard-worker. He's tough. ... We talked about him being a GA (graduate assistant) and we talked about two facets.
"No. 1, the best thing for him, because he's just three months removed from being a student-athlete, would be if he could get a GA job some place else. And I called a couple of people on his behalf. ... Plan B was always, if he couldn't get a graduate assistant position some place else, he would come back in the fall and be a GA here.
"We thought that much of him."
But apparently Conference USA rival Tulsa did the same, giving him a spot after Taylor, a Norman, Okla, native, spent last spring volunteering on the Hurricane's staff.
On Saturday, his two high-level college football worlds will collide.
"He sent me a text this morning, asking what we're doing," Marshall linebacker Tyson Gale said Monday. "I told him, 'We're going to blitz everyone and see what happens.'"
Taylor wasn't buying it.
"I don't know if I can believe Tyson," he said with a laugh. "I know we're friends, but I don't think he's helping me out much."