A Conversation With: Taylor Kavanaugh (1 of 2)
It's always football season in Corvallis! To give us an inside perspective on Beaver football, we meet up with the Beavers' wide receiver, punt returner -- and holder -- Taylor Kavanaugh to see what he did this summer.
Jake, Building the Dam: Hey Taylor. Nice to have you as a guest on the blog. First off, how's your summer going? I know you've been busy with workouts and practices, but what are you doing to enjoy college and have fun?
Taylor Kavanaugh: Jake, its a pleasure to be a guest on your blog. From a football standpoint, summer is the second best quarter of the year (just behind fall obviously), but it really is an awesome 8 weeks or so because of that extra bit of time we get. Usually this time is spent focusing on training, building relationships within the team, catching up on classes, and just simply relaxing! And if you have ever spent time in Corvallis during July or August you know that the slow pace of this deserted college town is a perfect place to do all of those. Most of the guys on the team, along with myself, take 2 or 3 classes that fit within our workout schedule. Other than that, most of our time is subject to however you might choose to spend it. Personally, I love a good BBQ and finding a way to spend the rest of the day outside in the beautiful weather we've been blessed with. Weekends are even better and you could probably bet I'm somewhere outdoors camping or fishing -- or my most recent outdoor trek -- in which I managed to summit the North Sister in Central Oregon. So I guess you could say that summer, as for any other student, is a good time to get your balance back and relax. But, more importantly, it is the predecessor to fall camp and a big determination in how camp will go and how we will come together as a team with one common goal starting July 30th.
We saw James Rodgers excel at running the "fly sweep" last year. Have you ever run that play in practice?
TK: Yeah, a few times. Not at the same skill and I don't make it look as good as James, that's for sure. James is a special player, I think everyone knows that now. I've had my chances at running the fly sweep, I did it a little bit in high school, but I don't have that "outside running ability" like James does. It is a pretty fun play to run.
You mentioned that you're squeezing summer classes within your workout schedule. What classes are you taking, and how is the Engineering degree coming?
TK: The engineering degree is coming along nicely. My specific area of study is Construction Engineering Management (CEM) and is a business that I truly have a passion for. After the two classes I completed this summer I am on pace to finish this spring. Needless to say, I am very excited about it. What the future holds for my academic endevors and career after that I have yet to see. But until then I will continue to enjoy the many relationships I have built within both the athletic sector of my life and the academic. The wonderful thing about the two things that fill my life at this point -- CEM and football -- is that they both require the ultimate amount of teamwork and collaboration to succeed. Most people know how many players and how much hard work it takes to put together a successful football program and I find that extremely congruent with construction. The amount of attention to detail and collaboration to construct a high rise building is something that many people don't realize and I feel lucky to be learning about.
From a football standpoint, give us an idea of what a typical day of workouts and training is like. The start of fall camp is coming up at the start of August which will likely drastically change things, but give us a taste of what it's like training in June and July.
TK: Summer training starts pretty much right after school ends. Although we do the same workouts from the end of Spring Football until the end of school, the intensity gets stepped up substantially after Spring Finals conclude. Our workout schedule is set up around summer school so workouts are early in the morning 4 days a week. Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday we Lift at 7:30 and run immediately after. My schedule follows with 4 hours of summer school and then back to Valley Football Center for extra work. During this time, in the late afternoon the Quarterbacks and receivers will meet up and run routes or compete in 7 on 7 drills with our Defensive backs or those from another school [OSU and Western Oregon players will often meet and conduct informal practices against each other in the offseason -- ed.]. In addition to receiver work, I usually work with JUSTIN KAHUT and the snappers to fine tune our "snap-hold-kick" on field goals and extra points.
The new Sports Performance Center has helped the football team train for the upcoming season.
Are there any stories or superstitions behind you wearing the number 84 (basically, BtD wants to know if you're just trying to suck up to Pac-10 legend, and current OSU graduate tight end coach, Tim Euhus)?
Not really... I guess the story behind it is when you come into the program as a walk-on, you take whatever you can get. I was fortunate to get my own locker and my own number. I wore number 83 in high school, so if I had a choice I may have taken that one by the number 84 has grown on me and I've come to love it through these past few years.
Any comments about the work ethic that goes along with being a walk-on?
TK: I think I'm that much better for it... I'm not going to say walk-ons are the only players that work hard because that's clearly not the case. I'm proud of being a walk-on and scratching and clawing my way to seeing the field and being a part of this team, but it's not because I've worked any harder than any of the scholarship. I've been lucky enough to play on a team and I've taken every single opportunity and worked hard to get those opportunities.
You've played a handful of positions under Coach Riley. How much of the playbook do you have a grasp on?
TK: A pretty good amount. It's a work in progress because the playbook is constantly evolving and changing as the coaches develop new ideas. There's a few staple plays that we run, and staple concepts that really make up the offense and I have a good grasp on those. But that doesn't mean I don't need to study the playbook every night, because I definitely do. If I keep doing that hopefully I'll completely understand the offense, but probably not!
Look for the second half of this interview on Friday morning.