As you'll recall, former PSU defensive tackle Phil Taylor was booted from the football program shortly before the 2008 season, along with Chris Baker. Baker ended up at Hampton, and currently projects as a second day NFL draft pick. Taylor landed at Baylor, with former Penn State defensive backs coach Brian Norwood, who is now the defensive coordinator in Waco.
ESPN.com's Big 12 blog recently ran a feature on Taylor's second chance at football, praising his combination of size and quickness. Adam Rittenberg, who writes The Four Letter's Big Ten blog, noticed a few not-so-subtle digs at Joe Paterno and Penn State:
Taylor didn't want to discuss Penn State too much, but he did say he was treated unfairly "because there were a lot of others in the same situation for similar things there."
There was also this tidbit:
"He is already struck by the difference in the leadership styles of Baylor coach Art Briles and [Joe] Paterno.
'I've been around a lot of teams, but here, it's more loose,' Taylor said. 'The coach lets us have fun. We still work very hard and do the things that we are supposed to do. But it's not quite as regimented as it was there -- do this, don't do that.'
The feeling around the program is different, too, Taylor said.
'Here, they treat us more like adults,' he said."
That's certainly a dig at Penn State, which has an old-school culture largely because of its old-school coach. But Paterno was in a pretty tough spot last summer after Penn State's reputation had been challenged. Many viewed his dismissals of Taylor and Baker as reactionary moves.
Bitterness. It ain't pretty. It's as though he can't comprehend that fun is what got him banished to the basement of the Big 12 South.
Taylor will almost certainly attract the attention of NFL scouts -- his physical potential is practically boundless, after all -- but it'll be interesting to see if he can ever get his head screwed on straight.