Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson becomes latest coach to praise Tyrod Taylor
So for the past week we've been doing progress reports on all of the position groups now that Virginia Tech has made it through eight games of its schedule. We've focused on the receivers, defensive line, running backs, linebackers, offensive line, and the secondary already. One noticeable absence: the quarterback.
Let's be clear, I haven't forgotten senior Tyrod Taylor. He's just the easiest to evaluate. There's no question he's been the Hokies' best player this season. That's not just coming from me, either. Running back Darren Evans said it earlier this week. And Wednesday during the ACC coaches' teleconference, Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson went even further.
"He's, without a doubt right now from what I've seen, the premier player in the league by a mile," Johnson said. "He keeps so many plays alive and he can beat you so many different ways. Not only is he throwing the ball so much better, but he can kill you running the ball and keeping things alove. We haven't been able to tackle him in the two years I've been here. I'm not sure we could get him down if we had him in a phone booth."
Taylor has really only had one average game this year. The only problem is that it coincided with the Hokies' upset loss to James Madison. You'll remember that in Virginia Tech's season-opening loss to Boise State, Taylor was the main reason the Hokies were able to take a fourth-quarter lead after falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter.
As I mentioned earlier this week, the past month represents the best four-game stretch in Taylor's career. He's gone 87 passes since his last interception and has 13 total touchdowns over that time. There's no way to overstate how timely Taylor's big plays have been this year, and he looks more comfortable in the pocket than ever before.
His legend is also growing. A few weeks ago against Central Michigan, Taylor became the winningest quarterback in school history. Tonight against Georgia Tech, he only needs 95 yards to surpass Bryan Randall's Virginia Tech career record for total offense (8,034 yards). Taylor is already has more rushing yards than any other Hokies quarterback.
Frankly, though, all the evidence you need about Taylor is what opposing coaches have said about him of late. Johnson was just another in a line of coaches this year to lavish Taylor with compliments. Just for reference, here are what some others said:
Duke Coach David Cutcliffe: "I think without question he's the best dual-threat quarterback I've seen. I would go as far to say he's the best in the country. There are guys running well that you see. You see Cam Newton, a youngster at Nevada, certainly Terrelle Pryor. He's as good a runner as any of them, maybe better. I think he may be the fastest. He's a drop back passer. You see very few drop-back passers that are as gifted as he is in the pocket that can do that other [stuff] with their feet."
Wake Forest Coach Jim Grobe: "We've played against some guys that throw it and run it pretty good, but I think he might be maybe the most dangerous combination. I think he can go the distance running the football against you, but you've got to expect the throw."
Boise State Coach Chris Petersen: "There’s nothing more concerning than a guy who can run like that. Everything you spend all day long designing is coverages for this route, for that route, for this run, for that run, and then all of a sudden you get in a scramble and the guy's taking off and doing some things, and all those plans are out the window. So it’s concerning, and that’s why I think not just us, but everybody in the country is worried about Virginia Tech this year."
Last but not least, let's hear the opinion of Hokies Coach Frank Beamer, the only head coach in the country who's been on the sideline for all 36 of Taylor's career starts.
"I think Tyrod has been very, very good and here lately, he’s been very much in control, keeping plays alive, finding guys down the field. He’s been very accurate. He’s been a great leader. I just think he’s a tremendous quarterback.”
| November 4, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
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