Cox’s hard work has eased transition to Big 12 football
- Sep. 19, 2012
- 1 Comment
Junior running back Taylor Cox has made a difficult transition from junior college football to playing in the Big 12. But the experience is one he has enjoyed so far.
Kansas coach Charlie Weis was careful when he evaluated Cox. He made sure that even though he is transferring, Cox would still be able to carry over his skill sets to a new level.
“When you study tape, it doesn’t lie,” Weis said. “What a good player is supposed to do against players that aren’t as good is dominate. All they can do is dominate, and that’s what he did.”
After spending two years at the College of Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., approximately three and a half hours north of Sacramento, Cox committed to Kansas in January and was ecstatic for the new opportunity.
Cox said that Weis flew out to visit him in Siskiyous before officially committing to Kansas. Like everyone else, he was no stranger to Weis and his accomplishments. He wanted to be familiar with his new coach before hitting the playing field as a member of the Jayhawks.
“I did some research on him and obviously he has tons of accolades,” Cox said. “He’s definitely a professional.”
Cox impressed his coaches since the beginning of fall camp. With junior running back James Sims absent for the first three games because of a suspension, Cox took the opportunity to lift the running game and make it a highlight for the offense this season.
“He has proved everyone on this team that he deserves to play,” said running backs coach Reggie Mitchell. “He practices extremely hard. The thing that Taylor has done is that he’s made the other guys more competitive. Every single snap he has, he goes full speed. That forces the other guys to go full speed if they want to be able to compete with him for playing time.”
Even though Cox can only show spectators what he is capable of on the field, he has shown to his teammates that he never stops showing up to work and is always on the go.
His coaches and teammates defined him as a hard worker. His teammates like his attitude outside of the gridiron. He has proved to others that he is always willing to learn and wants to get as much as he can from his coaches.
“He’s always in the film room, always asking questions and wanting to get better on and off the field,” sophomore running back Tony Pierson said.
As the No. 2 running back in the first three games for Kansas this season, Cox has had no problem being consistent. He rushed for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns off 42 carries so far this year. He earned a 5.9 yard-per-carry average and wants to keep contributing to help Kansas.
Before coming to Kansas, Cox was playing football in the Mid-Empire conference, where talented players tried their best to shine and grab the attention of a Division I coach. Cox knew his hard work would pay off, and he credits his Siskiyous coach, Charlie Roche.
Cox said that Roche preached consistency to his players at Siskiyous. He shattered the school record at Siskiyous with 362 yards in one game. He also set the career record with 2,744 yards and 31 touchdowns
“I’ve always felt confident in my abilities,” Cox said. “I just felt like if I went out, practiced, worked hard and went full speed every play, then I wouldn’t have any problem adjusting.”
While playing football as a kid, Cox idolized former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis. He also watched Ryan Williams during his time at Virginia Tech before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals.
Even as a collegiate running back, he doesn’t stop idolizing players. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is currently his favorite player in the NFL and sees a lot of similarities between Lynch and himself.
“He runs really tough,” Cox said. “He’s going to fight for every yard and he’s going to make you tackle him. I try to mimic my game after that and run hard and make the defense tackle me.”
Cox is enjoying his time in Kansas while playing under Weis as his head coach and has learned a lot from him. Cox said he could not have asked for a better head coach to make the transition from the junior college level.
“The thing I like most about him is that he is a straight shooter,” Cox said. “He is going to tell you straight where you stand, good or bad, which in football that’s what you need to know. I just admire that about him, and he has definitely helped me become a better player thus far.”
— Edited by Ryan McCarthy