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Ocho Cuatro, baby! (Taylor Kavanaugh interview, Part 2)

A Conversation With: Taylor Kavanaugh (2 of 2)

Our interview with #84 continues with some more questions about football, and some off-the-field activities as well.

In case you missed it, part one of the interview can be found here.

Jake, Building the Dam: You had some big shoes to fill last season at punt returner with the absence of Sammie Stroughter. Did you feel any pressure because of who you were filling in for?

Taylor Kavanaugh: I don't know if pressure is the right word, I'd call it excitement. I felt privileged that the coaches had enough trust in me to put me out there and get the job done. I took it really seriously and put my best effort into it... focused on the ball going into my hands every time and I was most definitely excited. It's a high anxiety position to be on punt returns, but I was glad to have a challenge and step up to take whatever was coming at me. [pun(t) intended, we're sure.--ed.]So I definitely had fun with it.

Did Sammie give you any advice?

TK: Oh yeah. Sammie is definitely a team player. He was doing all he could to help out and offer some of his knowledge to the younger players and me. He definitely helped me out and gave me tips... it was very helpful.

Having held for Alexis Serna over the last couple years, can you comment on the progress of Justin Kahut?

TK: Justin is going to be a really good kicker, I can assure you of that. Him and I are pretty close friends and we're working to build our relationship up over the summer, because a kicker/holder relationship is all about trust. Justin needs to be able to trust that I'll (place) the ball on time, doing the right things for him to get a good, clean kick off.  And I need to trust him that he'll trust me. We've been working to build that trust. I have full faith in Justin that through our hard work and dedication he'll become a good Pac-10 kicker and I can't wait to see how he does.


In 2007, Taylor helped Alexis Serna hit 18 field goals and 38 PAT's. (via OLive)

I see that you co-piloted a flight with a buddy recently. Is flying airplanes a hobby of yours, or were you just along for the ride?

TK: I'd say it's a newly acquired hobby. One of my buddies from high school is in the Air Force ROTC trying to become a fighter pilot ... he took me up in a Cesna 152. It was just an interest I had and I jumped on the opportunity to fly and experience something new. I was just along for the ride... maybe someday I'll get my pilot's license, we'll see what happens.


Taylor excels between the lines, in the classroom, and on the runway....

Looking back at last season, what play that you were involved with was your favorite? Does the third quarter punt return at the Emerald Bowl take the cake?

TK: The Emerald Bowl punt return was one of the most exciting plays because it was my longest [punt return] of the year and it was the last game of the season and I felt like as a team and personally we went out with a bang, getting the bowl win. Some of the field goals I was on the field for were pretty exciting also. I guess one of the most exciting plays, kind of in a bad way, was the kick in the Civil War which could have pretty much closed the game but ended up getting blocked. We had to chase the guy from Oregon down who blocked it and tackle him. That was pretty exciting, but disappointing too. Luckily, we went on to win the game.

What are we going to see from Taylor Kavanaugh this year? What will your role be?

TK: I'm going to try to fill any role that needs to be filled. I'll be holding for Justin obviously, and hopefully I'll be able to get some punt returns. I think the coaches have confidence in how I performed last year, so hopefully I'll do some of that, and I'll try to get on the field as a reserve receiver. But whatever happens, I'm just going to try to be prepared physically and mentally for whatever they might need me for. That's what I'm focusing on and what I'll be trying to do for the team.

At Lincoln High School you were All-League wide receiver and defensive back, your brother Connor was All-League at quarterback, and you have two younger athletic sisters as well. Comment about what it's like to come from an active family, and what it's like to have competition in the house.

TK: I'm just really proud of my brother and my sisters, that's probably first and foremost the first important thing. My brother was more than All-League, he was All-State and won Offensive Player of the Year, played in the State Championship game, and I'm proud of him for that. He's become a really good football player, and now he's playing at PSU, so I try to stay current on that. I have two younger sisters that also work hard playing sports, and they're going to be great athletes as well. I don't know if I'd say that I come from as much as an athletic family, my family just enjoys being active, playing sports. I'm proud of my siblings and glad that I can come home and watch them play sports too.


Taylor, (far left) with his family. 

What's the biggest thing you think you need to work on in fall camp?

TK: Out of a number of different things, it's probably just working on staying consistent every day. That sounds like a broad cliche, but it is really important to bring the same energy and being focused in every single practice which allows you to learn and get better. It's just staying consistent with that effort every day. I think that if I can do that, then other things will come and it will lead me down a path to success and eventually help the team go towards our goal of winning games and going to another bowl game. 

As a receiver, what's your favorite route to run?

TK: I'd say something across the middle. I like "ins" and "digs".  Anything across the middle I enjoy running.

Thanks, Taylor!