Thank you coach Taylor!

Taylor-2010fb-014_mediumLast season, shortly after Jeff Quinn announced the bulk of his coaching staff I ran a post and made the following observation:

 

I don't think any retention was as eagerly welcomed among UB fans as Taylor, UB has some seriously big shoes to fill next season at the wide out slots and a coach with a relationship to the players is vital. Aside from familiarity with the program Taylor brings his relationship with this season recruits (as a recruiting coordinator). In the conversations I have had with several recruits his name has always come up as being a factor.

He wanted to stay at Buffalo, he has done a bang up job building receivers and recruiting kids. Bully to Quinn for keeping him on board!
When I look around at what this team has become over the past four months I can see only two high points. The first is the way the defense adjusted to the 3-4 hybrid defense that coach Inge brought. They were no means a dominant defense that could win a game all by itself but they were good enough to win six games if paired with a competent offense.

Speaking of competent offense can anyone point to a position other than the wide receivers that were capable this year? While Taylor had the title of "Passing Coordinator" Quinn called 85 % of the plays. Coach Shorter owns the offensive line which was the most glaring weakness. Coach Forest owned the Quarterbacks (and the offense as a whole) and Taylor was responsible for the wideouts.

The Running backs get a pass(ish) because you cant run, at all, if your line plays as bad as UB's did this season.

It's hard to imagine that this was entirely a perceived performance issue. Something else had to be going through Jeff Quinn's mind when he decided to ax the longest serving UB Coach on staff, a guy who had a reputation for getting players to believe in a system and to rely on their coaches.

Rather than slam Coach Quinn for this because in the end some of those 'other reasons' can be pretty significant. If your WR coach does not buy your system then sadly you need someone who does, but there is a fine line between a team player and a 'yes man'.

If Quinn brings in someone who smiles and nods while we run the same sorry offense next season as we did this season than this move is a failure, and an epic one at that. If, however, Quinn finds a new OC and WR coach who the last pieces of the puzzle and gets the bulls back to some level of respectability within the conference next season I will pleasantly own up to how wrong I am when I say this

Getting rid of Juan Taylor is a huge mistake!

The biggest accomplishment in his five years at Buffalo was not Roosevelt, or Hamlin, or any of the wide receivers who walked this program from a laughing stock to the MAC championship. The biggest accomplishment he had was taking this years receivers who many feared would be the undoing of the offense and turning them into the only group to be there 99% of the time.

"He is a great coach and an even better role model for the players inside and outside of football. He was the type of person you need in your program because he cares about the players. I understand that this is a small bump in the road for him and his family but he's the type of guy that won't give up and won't let you give up. No question he will be back on his feet very soon." -- Former UB Wideout Brett Hamlin via Facebook

And that is the kind of coach that Taylor was. Watching games at home with his receivers finding ways to both challenge them and to engender confidence and comfort in his leadership. He once watched a Texas Tech game with Naaman Roosevelt and made an off hard remake that he would love to have Michael Crabtree on his team, but he did it in such a way to inspire rather than frustrate his players.

The following Tuesday, the Bulls hosted Miami (Ohio) in the Election Night game. Quarterback Drew Willy threw a 34-yard pass to the back of the end zone that Roosevelt hauled in on a diving catch. When Roosevelt returned to the sideline, he found Taylor and started yelling, "Crabtree, who? Crabtree, who?"

"He started laughing," Roosevelt said of Taylor. -- Graham Watson ESPN

A 'players coach' who knows the X's and O's and can teach the little things is a pretty rare thing. Its even more rare when that coach sticks around for five years as a position coach. Taylor, like Coach Moose never treated Buffalo like a stepping stone! Both set down roots on day one, got involved in not just the program and the school but in their communities.

I have no doubt Taylor will be coaching somewhere in 2012 (Unless the Mayans are right). From what I have been told he still has a contract with UB that has to be honored for some months into the year but as soon as that expires there will be no shortage of teams who will want to bring on someone with Taylor background in recruiting and developing receivers.

What I am afraid of is that he lands at one of the four MAC schools now rebuilding their coaching staffs. No team in the conference has enjoyed having to cover Taylor developed receiving corps and I doubt that will change much where ever he lands.

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