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August 11, 2008 - Image 14

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-08-11

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1 A Monday, August 11, 2008
I ~ £j The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
FOOTBALL
TrimmedaI or niakes bigsplash

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
Senior nose tackle Terrance
Taylor sat on a table in the com-
mons at Schembechler Hall to
talk to the media after the Michi-
gan football team's first day of fall
practice last Monday. As sweat
poured from his head, he rocked
back and forth during the 15-min-
ute interview.
When he got up, he joked the
table would have broken last year.
By shedding 27 pounds since
the New Year's Day Capital One
Bowl, Taylor has become the post-

er child for the Wolverines' new
strength and conditioning regi-
men. But Taylor, who now weighs
301 pounds, hasn't lost everything.
His sense of humor and bravado
are still intact.
In fact, the weight loss was the
means to keep his wit and blus-
ter. Taylor looks back fondly on
the 2006 season, not necessarily
because the team ran after every
practice, but because Michigan
had the nation's best run defense.
"When it came to game day,
and it was the fourth quarter, and
it was third down and two, we
weren't even tired," Taylor said.

"We was out there joking and rap-
ping and doing all that stuff and
playing around."
For Michigan to regain that
swagger after finishing eighth
in the Big Ten in rush defense
last year, a self-described out-of-
shape Taylor knew he'd have to
get his act together. He realized
he couldn't fall behind players like
Shawn Crable, LaMarr Woodley
and Pat Massey, Michigan's last
three defensive captains, during
drills. Taylor is a senior, which, to
him, means he should be the best
in practice.
But that didn't click right away.

Shortly after returning from the
Capital One Bowl, the team had to
do five gassers, or sprints across
the field. Taylor couldn't finish.
In the first practice of the spring
in pads, Taylor was running offthe
field, when he fell to his knees and
threw up. He had never thrown up
from playing sports before.
Taylor said there was an initial
"clashing" between himself and
the new coaches as they got used
to each other's personalities. That
led to the All-Big Ten second-team
player of a year ago beginning
Michigan's spring game on the
second team.

But a message from director of
strength and conditioning Mike
Barwis reversed Taylor's spiral
down the depth chart.
"He said, 'Look at you,' " Tay-
lor said. "He says, 'You're the only
person that's not even finishing
the workout. You don't want to be
that guy.' And I thought about it
all that night. And I told myself I
didn't want to be that guy."
Taylor says Barwis broke him
down mentally and rebuilt him.
The Muskegon native improved
his sleeping and eating habits. He
bought a lot of Aquafina and ate
more fruit and oatmeal.
"I think I'm better condi-
tioned than any D lineman in
the nation right now," Taylor
said. "You can't tell me differ-
ent."
The new Taylor, who says
he's stronger physically and
mentally, seems here to stay. He
drank pop at a team meal - it
burned. He tried a McDonald's
hamburger after going a month
without one.
"It was so greasy, and I was
like, 'This is what I used to eat?'
" he said.
His teammates and coaches
have noticed the difference.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker
Obi Ezeh said he hasn't made as
many plays in practice because
Taylor has gotten to the ball
first. And his ability has made
everything easier for the rest of
the defensive line, Michigan's
strongest position group.
"That boy shaved off some
pounds," junior defensive end
Brandon Graham said. "He's
looking like a beast out there."
But it's not like Taylor will
let a teammate go without
noticing his ability anyway. If
Taylor beats a teammate on a
play, he's known to jokingly rag
on the other player in the post-
practice meal.
Still, there's some serious
business at hand. Taylor said
he returned for his senior year
to accomplish a few firsts - let
his degree, beat Ohio State and
get a ring for winning a Big
Ten Title. He's doing all he can
to put himself in a position to
achieve those goals.
"An in-shape Terrance Tay-
lor is a lot better football player,
and he should have an outstand-
ing year," Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez said.

4

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