MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU is expecting quarterback Garrett Greene to throw more than 162 yards – his total from the Penn State game – in the passing game week-to-week.
Eventually, the passing attack will have to be tuned up. When that happens, expect tight end Kole Taylor to reap the benefits.
“It’s on me,” Taylor said. “If I get open they’re going to throw me the ball. If I get open they’re going to call plays for me. So it’s really on me to do my job.”
Taylor finished the opener as the team’s second-leading receiver with two receptions for 31 yards. Head coach Neal Brown drew up at least one more play intended for Taylor that wasn’t properly executed. On another play, Taylor ran himself open on a route, but Greene didn’t see him.
“When you go back and watch the game, he should have probably had five catches for 50-60 yards, and I think that’s what he can be,” Brown said. “He’s got a really good catch radius. He runs well. He did a better job in the run game. He’s got to finish some things.”
In an effort to be a complete tight end, Taylor is actively trying to strengthen his skills as a run blocker. That’s why Brown is constantly harping on him for his pad level in practice, which Taylor admits can be frustrating, but also best for his development.
Offensive coordinator Chad Scott saw a flash of what Taylor can look like as a multi-faceted tight end.
“Kole’s improved big time,” Scott said. “In fact, one of the runs CJ Donaldson had down there going into the end zone, he did a phenomenal job digging the defensive end out.”
Scott is most impressed with Taylor’s desire to be involved in all areas of the offense, which speaks volumes about Taylor’s love for the position. He has a genuine appetite for blocking even after he was explicitly brought into the program for his pass-catching abilities.
“I never like being called just a pass-catching tight end, or just a run-blocking tight end,” he said. “I think as a tight end you need to do everything, and you got to be able to do everything, especially if you want to play the next level, and be a productive tight end for the team that you’re at.”
In three years at LSU, he made 32 appearances with seven starts before entering the transfer portal, and the Mountaineers were desperate for a veteran tight end. When securing Taylor’s commitment, Brown even went as far as making certain assurances that Taylor would see increased usage in comparison to WVU tight ends of recent.
“There were a couple plays that were called specifically for me [at Penn State], and that’s been a good thing,” he said. “And we’ve got a lot moving forward, so I think he’s done a good job holding up his promise.”
Taylors snap count – which was in the 60s – signals a high-usage year ahead for the Colorado native, whether that be split out-wide or with his hand in the dirt on the line of scrimmage.
“He’s definitely going to be a weapon for us,” Brown said.