For the second-straight spring, Bruce Taylor will be watching the Spring Game from the sideline.
One of the most productive linebackers to ever step on the field in Bud Foster’s defense, Taylor is working to get back on the field following a Lisfranc sprain of his right foot, an injury he suffered in last season’s Boston College game.
Over the past two seasons, Taylor has solidified the mike linebacker position on defense, posting 91 tackles in 2010 and 53 in 2011 (eight games).
Even though he missed six games with the foot injury, he was named Honorable Mention All-ACC.
Now that he’s back on the field, albeit in a limited capacity, Taylor has taken more of a leadership role with
the younger linebackers. He’s contributing to the defense by watching things in practice Foster might not see.
“(Foster) has to watch an entire defense, so I feel like when I’m out there I can see something that he’ll probably miss,” Taylor said.
“Coach Foster does a good job correcting, but if it’s something that he missed, I’ll pull one of the linebackers aside.”
Taylor, who had surgery on the foot in early November, is at an awkward part of his rehabilitation.
While he’s been on the field for spring practices in a blue (limited participation) jersey, Taylor had a screw in his foot removed Thursday.
“It’s still got a little pain in it,” Taylor said. “It feels good, I just have to get it strengthened back up, just rehab the heck out of it.”
Part of the process will be playing through pain, even after he has healed, something Taylor said might be the most difficult obstacle to overcome.
“The biggest thing about this injury is getting used to it,” Taylor said.
“It’s going to be sore for a good year, before I feel good on it. I’ll definitely have to play through a little bit of pain.”
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow, another Tech linebacker who suffered a Lisfranc sprain, is going through a similar rehab. Gouveia-Winslow and Taylor had their injuries just two weeks apart, so their timetable for return is very close.
Taylor said the rehabilitation process is different from when he had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in April 2011.
“(I’m doing) any type of movement that’s going to attack those muscles that have been repaired,” Taylor said. “It’s a lot of resistance stuff that you do. It’s more trying to isolate specific muscles to strengthen it.”
Taylor, who was already on the NFL radar before his injury, has proven to be an elite player at the collegiate level. He said he’s trying to improve his overall game.
“Staying healthy, but other than that, always trying to get better in every phase of the game,” he said. “I’m trying to be the best, so everything.”
The fact he’s not out there full-tilt with his teammates also frustrates Taylor.
“The worst part about missing two-straight springs is I just want to be out there with my team,” he
“We’ve got some linebackers that are promising, they’re not there yet, but they’re coming around slowly but surely.”