NFL: Zac and Press Taylor prove football isn't just a contact sport, but a sports of contacts

The opportunities have come for Zac and Press Taylor. Sometimes, it's not just who you know. It's who you know knows who.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm •  Published: September 19, 2013
Advertisement
;

photo - University of Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor throws against Colorado in their college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 24, 2006.  Zac Taylor threw two touchdown passes on a record-setting day and No. 23 Nebraska, already bound for the Big 12 championship game, pulled out all its tricks against Colorado in a 37-14 victory Friday.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver) ORG XMIT: NENH114
University of Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor throws against Colorado in their college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, Nov. 24, 2006. Zac Taylor threw two touchdown passes on a record-setting day and No. 23 Nebraska, already bound for the Big 12 championship game, pulled out all its tricks against Colorado in a 37-14 victory Friday.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver) ORG XMIT: NENH114

Sherwood Taylor always stressed to his boys the value of building relationships. The value of connections and associations.

Football is a contact sport. Football coaching is a contacts vocation.

“I preached to them, it's your contacts,” Taylor said. “It's everything. You can be the smartest thing in the world, but if you don't get the opportunity …”

The opportunities have come for Zac and Press Taylor. Sometimes, it's not just who you know. It's who you know knows who.

Both Taylor brothers, neither past 30 years old nor that far removed from quarterbacking the Norman Tigers, are coaching in the NFL.

Zac is the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach. Press is a quality control coach, working with receivers, for the Eagles. The Taylors aren't yet breathing down the necks of the Super Bowl Harbaughs, but both in the NFL by 30 is impressive.

“It's awesome,” Zac Taylor said. “It's a rare experience that two brothers get to share. You're always proud of your brother when something great happens to him.”

Some would say Zac Taylor married his way to the NFL. His father-in-law is Mike Sherman, who was head coach at Texas A&M and now is the Dolphin offensive coordinator. Sherman hired Taylor at A&M and took his son-in-law along to Miami.

Sounds like a cushy path, until you remember that few gigs are as tough as Zac's first assignment for Sherman. Son-in-law. Nothing easy about that job for most guys.

Zac doesn't take umbrage at the suggestion his father-in-law was looking out for him.

“I certainly owe a lot of my experiences to him,” said Zac, who seems to have the personality to handle such doubt. “I played quarterback my whole career. There's always skepticism.

“You have to learn to make it work. You're at work (together) every day all day. We definitely have a great relationship. We've made it work.

“I've been fortunate. I've learned a lot from him.”

Press Taylor's advancement to the NFL required a bit more karma.

Last summer, then-Oregon coach Chip Kelly visited the Dolphin headquarters. He stopped by to talk football with Zac Taylor. Little brother Press was in Miami on a visit, doing the same, after one year as a graduate assistant at the University of Tulsa.

Fast forward six months. Kelly takes the Eagles' job and started putting together a multitiered staff, as is common in the NFL. Kelly needed some young coaches, willing to work hard for relatively little money. Greg Austin, who played with Zac Taylor at Nebraska and had been a graduate assistant on Kelly's Oregon staff, threw out the name Press Taylor.

Kelly remembered his Miami chat, called Press for an interview and hired him.

“Just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” said Press Taylor.

The Taylor brothers, four grades apart in school, were solid quarterbacks at Norman, then both starred at Butler County Community College in Kansas (though Zac initially went to Wake Forest). Zac went to Nebraska and was the 2006 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year; Press went to Marshall, where he was a backup.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Did Pope Francis really tell a 90-year-old atheist journalist that 1 in 50 priests are pedophiles?
  2. 2
    Facebook and Twitter won the World Cup Final
  3. 3
    Dead body falls out of coroner's van along busy road
  4. 4
    Tracy Morgan: Recovering in style -- first pic since NJ turnpike crash
  5. 5
    Ex-captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could return to active duty Monday
+ show more