After a freshman season of running for nearly 2,000 yards and a sophomore season of eclipsing that number and winning a Doak Walker Award you would think Jonathan Taylor would be pretty happy with his game overall. Instead, Taylor remains humble and reiterates that there is always room for improvement.
Over the course of the last two days, Taylor spent his time in Chicago doing the media tour for everyone from the local reporters to the big boys at ESPN and Fox. During that time Taylor did not gloat about his stats, or his possible NFL career next fall, and instead turned the focus towards his teammates and his room for improvement as a player.
“If you didn’t have more room for improvement then you would already be first in everything, you would be number one in everything, you’d be on your way to the next level, you’d be number one overall, you’d be number one everything. Everyone is not number one in everything so there’s always room for improvement and it’s up to you to figure out those things, it’s up to you to find those areas of improvement in order to make yourself a better player.” said Taylor to a crowded media circle on Friday afternoon.
Entering his third season in Madison, Taylor has also improved and adjusted to becoming a vocal leader of this team, something he hadn’t always done in years past as the new or young guy on the team.
“I’ve changed as a leader. I’ve taken after D’Cota Dixon, Chris Orr and taken more of that vocalization. I was more of a lead by example guy in my younger years and now I’ve taken on that role of being more vocal.”
While Taylor has clearly taken strides off the field in a leadership capacity, he’s also taking strides to improve more on the field. Taylor stressed improvement on third down as well as with ball security, which have been the few flaws in his impressive all-around game.
"One big thing is putting success on third down...I showed flashes of it in 2018. This year will be putting it down on down on tape consistently..." said Taylor when asked about his room for improvement #B1GMediaDay— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) July 19, 2019
When talking about the fumbles, Taylor alluded to a need for focus and fundamentals so he can improve in that area.
“You’re always thinking about that. As a running back that’s your number one priority and you train for those things not to happen. Freshman year I struggled with those at times... you continue to train for those every single day. Even guys that have zero, they continue to train for that every single day. So you can continue to work on that and perfect the craft.”
It’s fair to say that if Taylor makes improvement in his game, that he’ll likely be a top target for NFL scouts and running back needy teams alike. Taylor was already fielding multiple questions about that future during this week, but he reiterated his focus is on his time in Madison and putting any talk about his future on the back burner.
“I think one of the biggest things is thinking about what you did the past two years. That wasn’t here the past two years and if you continue to do what got you here and not really worry about that stuff, worry about the team, then everything will fall into place.”
Linebacker Chris Orr, one of the two other Badgers in attendance, reiterated that message on Taylor when asked if the NFL would be a distraction to Taylor or the team in general.
“To be realistic its what you expect when you have two great years, but he does a great job of not even bringing that up. Nobody talks about that. It’s not even a question floating around in the locker room,” Orr noted. “To be honest he’s admirable in how humble he is with as much attention as he’s getting every year.”
While Taylor could certainly talk about his accomplishments, or his future, he clearly stated that none of those things matter to him in 2019. That attitude is a recipe that will hopefully bring a stronger season back to Madison, and in turn greatly benefit Taylor in his quest for championships, the Heisman, and a pro career.
As Taylor said, that’ll all take care of itself.