Zac Taylor arrived at Cincinnati with instant credibility when Tommy Tuberville hired him as the Bearcats’ new offensive coordinator in January.
“We had immediate respect for him when he came in,” said quarterback Hayden Moore. “He has the swagger where everybody is going to follow him and nobody questions him.”
At the age of 33, Taylor is not far removed from an outstanding playing career. Ten years ago he broke most of Nebraska’s passing records and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.
“Zac and I go back to his time at Nebraska,” said UCF head coach Scott Frost. “I was training there in the offseason when Zac was the quarterback and I always thought that he was a really smart player, a great player, and a great person.”
Taylor began his coaching career with four seasons at Texas A & M, before spending the last four years in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. Zac says returning to the college level after being in the pros is a significant change.
“The kids have to go to class – that’s a huge difference,” he told me. “But overall, they’re just so eager to learn. Some aspects of football are very new to some of these guys. You really get to teach and that’s fun for me. Just to see a guy learn something new and be able to take it to the field and act on it is what I really like about coaching college.”
“The thing I like about Zac is that he has patience,” said Coach Tuberville. “He relates well to the players and knows when to raise his voice and when not to raise his voice. He’s going to be a good coach.”
“His coaching methods are probably my favorite of any coach that I’ve ever had,” said Moore. “He lets us practice and then afterwards we watch film and go over everything. He’s not one to yell, but he tells us what we need to hear.”
Taylor spent most of his time in Miami as the quarterbacks coach, but served as the offensive coordinator for the final five games last season after the Dolphins fired Bill Lazor.
“You learn how to be very detailed (in the NFL),” said Taylor. “You have a lot of meeting time and you’re playing the best of the best in the world so you have to be very detailed, very thorough, and very creative in what you do.”
Taylor’s offense will look slightly different from what Cincinnati ran over the past three years under former coordinator Eddie Gran. UC is likely to have a tight end on the field more frequently and is expected to emphasize the run more – especially with an inexperienced group of wide receivers. But it will still be a no-huddle attack operating largely out of the shotgun.
“We’ll be up-tempo, we’re going to spread the field and make the defense cover the whole field, and we’re going to be in attack mode the whole way through,” said Taylor.
Bearcats fans will get their first look at the “Zac Attack” when Cincinnati opens the season on Thursday night at Nippert Stadium against UT Martin.
“I think we’ve come leaps and bounds since the spring,” said Taylor. “We still have a ways to go, but I think each and every week this unit has gotten better. We compete against a great defense and that makes us better every day.”
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