Taylor losing weight, hoping to rebound

IRVING, Texas -- The expectations for defensive lineman Phil Taylor were sky high in 2009.

"A year ago, if Phil Taylor would have walked into this room after I got through talking, you'd have wondered why he was walking and not flying or if there was water, if he needed somebody to get on his back and walk across it, because I really thought, and rightfully so, that Phil would have an outstanding year," Baylor coach Art Briles said Monday.

Of course, that didn't happen. Taylor, who transferred from Penn State, had 25 tackles in 12 starts. But he wasn't the impact player everyone figured he'd be. Taylor said Monday that he wasn't happy with his season and he blamed fatigue. So he went about getting his weight down, dropping 25 pounds and coming in around 340 pounds.

"When I got the weight down, I knew I could play longer and go harder," Taylor said. "I feel a lot better."

Taylor said he would get tired on long drives or even as the games went into the late quarters. And that prevented him from making the kind of plays he needed to make.

"I told him this year, we're going to pass judgment after six ball games," Briles said. "I think I know where he's at, but I thought I knew a year ago too, and I found out I wasn't as smart as I thought I was. We'll see where it goes from there," Briles said.

Taylor said when he's right, he can be a dominating player. That's what he expects from himself this season.