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How Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor learned to run an NFL offense

  • September 17, 2020

After the 2003 college football season, Zac Taylor considered transferring to two schools: Coffeyville Community College and Butler County Community College. 

Taylor hadn’t found his place in the Wake Forest University offense during his freshman year as a college quarterback. To become the starter, he needed to be better running the ball –– Wake’s quarterback Cory Randolph ran for 404 yards in 2003. 

But that style of play didn’t fit Taylor’s skill set, so he transferred to Butler County for the 2004 season. This was before he became a star college player at Nebraska, before he became the Cincinnati Bengals head coach at 35-years-old and before he designed an offense for Joe Burrow.

If Taylor hadn’t picked Butler County and played for head coach Aaron Flores, he might have never gotten into coaching. 

“He was really the first one that gave me the confidence that I needed,” Taylor said.

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Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor looks at his play card in the first quarter during a Week 14 NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

When Taylor arrived on campus in El Dorado, Kansas, Flores didn’t guarantee him the starting job. At Butler County, Taylor needed to beat out the other Division One transfer quarterback on the roster to play on Saturdays and get noticed by recruiters from power conference schools.

But it only took a few weeks for Taylor to become the starting quarterback.

“He wasn’t real loud, and he wasn’t a huge vocal leader, but he learned how to lead by example,” Flores told The Enquirer. “He just knew how to command the offense, and he learned that very quickly. That confidence built throughout the spring as he was here with us.”

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