October 22, 2009

Jackets hope to get Taylor back soon

There is a small chance Georgia Tech safety Cooper Taylor will make the trip to Charlottesville this week for the Virginia game, but for Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack there are bigger issues than just football when it comes to bringing Taylor back into the lineup after he missed four games with a heart condition.

Taylor along with Dominique Reese and Morgan Burnett were the cornerstones of Wommack's new defensive scheme that was based on a 4-2-5 defense. In the Miami game, they lost Reese and Taylor to injuries and the 4-2-5 has been scrapped in favor of a traditional 4-3.

"We started out this year with a three safety base defense and when Cooper and Dominique got hurt we had to trash it because we had no people left to play. We lost thousands of reps on it."

This week Taylor finally returned to the practice fields after having heart surgery and he is close to being medically clear, but Wommack and the coaches are being very cautious with Taylor.

"It is good to see him back out there and we need to make a decision that is good for all of us," Wommack said. "I think it is important that we do this right. We will sit down and talk about it and make a decision today."

While Taylor was out, Wommack moved Rashaad Reid to safety because of the lack of depth and experience at free safety and having Taylor back at 100-percent would be huge for the Jackets for the stretch run.

"I would love to have Cooper back and the sooner the better," Wommack said. "Obviously he started the first few games for us and anytime you lose a guy like that, who has played for year and a few games, you lose a lot in experience and repetition."

Prior to Taylor's diagnosis, Wommack noticed that he was not the same player he had been during spring practices or fall camp.

"I am not a doctor, but he was different. From about the last few days of camp all the way through the Miami game he looked different. He had made unbelievable preparation heading into the season and in fact, he had won the competition in the offseason as the guy who got the biggest and strongest. He has now lost all that weight and he has gone through some difficult things in his life. I think it will take some time for him to get back."

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