Taylor learned from Jacoby Boren and then Pat Elflein and Billy Price, Ohio State’s last three starting centers. Elflein and Price were named the nation’s top centers as seniors. Each were fifth-year seniors when they won the Rimington. Taylor expects them to pressure him to make it three in a row when the season gets closer.
“I think it goes to something coach (Urban) Meyer says,” Taylor said. “If you replace a good player with someone not as good, then the team gets worse. So that’s kind of my goal: to be the best center in the nation. I think being behind them the last two years and being groomed, I think I can accomplish it.”
Elflein and Price started elsewhere on the offensive line before moving to center in their final seasons. Taylor’s case is different because he hasn’t started.
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Taylor’s biggest challenge, he said, will be performing well in hostile environments. Ohio State has road games against Texas Christian in Dallas and at Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State and Maryland in Big Ten play.
“I’ve got to be ready to do that,” Taylor said. “I think I’m definitely ready for it.”
Taylor learned the importance of confidence from watching his predecessors. They knew how to direct the entire line. If a teammate got injured and someone else entered the game, Taylor said, they kept everyone going.
“They were good leaders,” Taylor said. “That’s what made them good centers. They really worked with me over the years and got me ready.”
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Miamisburg graduate Josh Myers, who redshirted as a freshman in 2017, is one of the top candidates to back up Taylor. Myers was the one teammate Taylor mentioned when he was asked if he was still competing for the starting job.
“I think Josh Myers is definitely a really good player,” Taylor said. “He pushes me every day. He’s making me a better player. He does some really good things on film. I think it’s definitely a competition. Every day we’re going at it and getting better.”
Last December, as Ohio State prepared for the Cotton Bowl, Price said it was Taylor's job to lose.
“The kid’s been in the program for four or five years now,” Price said. “He’s continued to get better. Him and I are having those one-on-one conversations. Let’s work on this. Let’s change this.”