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OU's Adrian Taylor gets best compliment of all

BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: November 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm •  Published: November 1, 2010

NORMAN — Against Colorado, Oklahoma’s Adrian Taylor found joy in a place that other defensive tackles loathe.

For the first time all season, Taylor finally got double teamed.

Said linebacker Travis Lewis: “Out there on the field with him he was like, ‘They’re double teaming me! They’re double teaming me!’”

“You complain about double teams all the time,” Taylor said. “But right now, I want the double team, if that makes sense.

“Shows how far I’ve come.”

This has been a trying senior season for Taylor, who 10 months ago at the Sun Bowl suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in Sooner history. A broken ankle so ghastly, CBS refused to televise the replay as Taylor was carted off the field.

But defying the odds, Taylor returned to the field at the beginning of this season. And has been gutting it out ever since. Despite running with a limp. Despite playing with pain. Despite not being the player he was last season; and the player he was on the cusp of becoming pre-injury.

“Of course, there’s been some physical things there, but being honest, the hardest part for me has been the mental aspect of it,” Taylor said. “Not to sound cocky, but I thought I had a pretty good year last year, and I was expecting to have an even bigger year this year. This injury has hindered me.

“Not being what I’m used to being and being even better this year has been hard for me.”

Who knows where the Sooner defense might be this season with a healthy Taylor?

At times, due also in part to inexperience and other injuries up front, the OU defense has struggled defending the middle of the line of scrimmage, a place where Taylor and Gerald McCoy dominated opponents last season while playing almost every snap.

Replacing McCoy was going to be impossible, but the Sooners surely would have been stronger with Taylor firing away at full strength.

Then again, who knows where the defense would be this season without Taylor at all?

Shortly after the injury, some doctors cautioned it could be two years before Taylor would be able to walk normal again. And the week leading up to the opener, some still advised Taylor redshirting might be the best option for him. Take another year to heal the ankle. Another year to get back into playing shape. Another year to restore his NFL Draft stock.

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