“It’s doing good,” he said of his sprained ankle. “Yes, I will be playing.”
Taylor dressed but was kept out of the Austin Peay game as a precautionary measure after spraining his ankle against Georgia Tech last Monday even though he wanted to play against the Governors. Instead, he stood on the sideline, donning a baseball cap with his helmet nowhere in sight.
He was in a blue, limited contact jersey Monday but defensive coordinator Bud Foster said he was moving around well.
Fellow inside linebacker Tariq Edwards, meanwhile, continues to be in blue because of his knee. He was favoring his leg noticeably at the end of practice and, from all indications, will likely not make his season debut this weekend.
“Tariq, there will be some things that he’ll have to go through, do some contact, do some things and get his timing back,” Foster said. “But I know that he’s a guy that I trust. But we’ve got to see if he can go and do it too. I’ll be anxious to see if he can go do it. He looks better and better and I think mentally he feels better and better and I think that’s a big part when you have those type of injuries.”
Receiver D.J. Coles was also a surprise player in blue Monday, although Beamer said on Tech Talk Live that he’s still out for the season because of a knee injury. The coach wants to keep him around football for the time being.
Here are some more notes and quotes from Monday interviews …
- I did not see center Andrew Miller out at practice near the end Monday, although there were a lot of guys and it was difficult to spot them with their jerseys off. He appeared to leave Saturday’s game early with an ankle injury. Defensive end James Gayle had a wrap on his shoulder, something he hurt after one play against Austin Peay when he hit the quarterback, but he should be fine.
- Foster likened playing Pittsburgh to “playing a wounded animal. They’re going to be backed up in a corner.” He said despite what the first two games have shown that the Panthers still are a physical group with a dynamic tailback (Ray Graham). “They’re playing a quality opponent in us and they’re going to play their tail off,” he said. “We expect that.”
- Foster said the Hokies have looked at lot of Wisconsin film to see what first-year Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst will do Saturday. Chryst was the Badgers’ offensive coordinator for seven years before going to Pittsburgh and taking much of his offensive staff with him. “They’re doing the same the same stuff,” Foster said. “The coordinator, they’ve got another guy calling plays, but one of his guys. They’re running the same routes, the same offense, they’re doing with Pitt that they were doing with Wisconsin. But you know, it takes baby steps. They’ve been there 15 days of spring and a month and a half [this season]. I’m sure they want to build a foundation to the program. It looks like they’re working that way.
- Foster noted a few backups that had solid games against Austin Peay in what was really their first extended action: DE Dadi Nicolas, CB Donaldven Manning, S Michael Cole, LB Deon Clarke and LB Chase Williams. “You’ve got some guys who took a step right there,” he said. “And we may need them down the road.”
- Plenty of stuff on rover Kyshoen Jarrett tonight. I plan on writing something on him for Wednesday’s paper. Here’s what secondary coach Torrian Gray had to say about him: “Just from a physicality standpoint, when the lights went on, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the kind of player we’ve seen these first two games. After that first game and he came up with the physicality that he came with, it gave him confidence.” (Jarrett, by the way, is a Pennsylvania native who was a former Pittsburgh commitment until Dave Wannstedt got run a few years ago.)
- As for CB Antone Exum, Gray thought he wasn’t as sharp in the second game. “First game he was great,” Gray said. “Second game he was very inconsistent.” Gray said Exum’s technique needs to be cleaned up, things like lining up with the right leverage. “As good of an athlete that he is, there’s still some things that you’ve got to go through that, OK, OK, and he’s just going through that,” Gray said. “It’s still a new position for him, so he’ll be fine.”
- Exum said he owed safety Detrick Bonner some gratitude for breaking up a long pass after an Austin Peay receiver got by him on a double move. Bonner came over the top and leveled the receiver, jarring the ball loose for an incompletion. “I thanked him right on the field when it happened,” Exum said. “I don’t know if y’all saw it. We were celebrating right on the field because if it wasn’t for him … We game-planned on them running that throw, so I was going to jump it. Any sign of him stopping, I was going to go jump it and try to make a play. When he did that and took off … we hadn’t seen a double move all week on film from those guys, so I’m just glad he was able to come over and make a tremendous play.”
- Exum brought back the blond mohawk (or the Simon Phoenix look from “Demolition Man”) because he felt like it was kind of his trademark. “I had to get back,” he said. “I played well with it last year when I had it, so I had to get it back.” He said his teammates don’t give him as hard of a time about it as they did last year. “They kind of went away from the jokes this year because I wore them out,” he said. “It’s fun.”
- Linebacker Jack Tyler proudly sported a Washington Redskins T-shirt today after watching rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III lead them to a season-opening win against New Orleans on Sunday. “I actually just bought my Super Bowl tickets yesterday after the win,” he joked. “So I’ll be there in February.”
- Tyler likes what he sees out of RGIII. “It’s fun to watch him,” he said. “He just looks like he’s having fun out there. Back when we had Jason Campbell and those guys, I always thought they were having a terrible time out there. He looks like he’s having fun. Every throw that he made yesterday, I was energetic about it and I thought that a big play was about to happen. That’s something you don’t get out of a lot of quarterbacks.” Apparently that wasn’t the case with Rex Grossman. “Rex Grossman is not my guy,” Tyler said with a laugh. “Something about him just never really appealed to me.”
- Tyler is apparently a nice guy on the field. Too nice, according to Taylor. Tyler helped give a lost shoe back to an Austin Peay player during Saturday’s game. “I just remember making the tackle and I feel like I missed the tackle and I came back and I just had his shoe in my arms,” he said. “What’s the point in just throwing it? I just thought I’d give it back to him. I thought I’d be a nice guy about it. It’s football. I like to have fun. I’m not one of those guys who is nuts and crazy on the field and is always screaming and yelling. I have my moments where I get energetic after a big play and like to show emotion, but for the most part I’m really relaxed out there.”
- Taylor gave him a hard time about it. “Apparently that’s how you play good defense is you throw shoes at people,” Tyler said. “I just thought I’d be a good Samaritan and help him out.”
- Taylor and Tyler like to give each other grief. Tyler said Taylor is like his older brother. They seem to make a good duo on the field. “He gets downhill great. He plays with great speed,” Taylor said. “And those are things that I try to do myself. I feel like when we’re both on the field at the same time that we can be trouble.”