The Nebraska quarterback has taken his grasp of the system into summer workouts. Reports out of the Husker camp are that he's looked polished and confident.
\"Last year, we had the actual playbook out there,\" NU receiver Mark LeFlore said. \"We're flipping through plays and trying to get everybody lined up. It was still a little confusing.
\"With Zac, now he's doing the checkdowns and audibles and knows where everybody's going or where they're supposed to be. Everybody just seems a lot more comfortable.\"
Seven-on-seven passing league is hardly preseason camp. But it's been Taylor's chance to build on momentum he carried out of spring practice.
The playbook usually comes with him to Cook Pavilion every Tuesday and Friday morning - and to throwing sessions with receivers on Mondays and Thursdays - but Taylor rarely needs it.
\"Zac's done an unbelievable job of coming in here and learning the offense,\" receiver Grant Mulkey said. \"He knows the offense better than anybody on the team. It's obvious that after spring ball he didn't put the playbook down.\"
Taylor, as of now, is Nebraska's hope for rescuing it from one of its worst offensive seasons in decades. His prior experience, however, is only a handful of NCAA Division I-A snaps at Wake Forest in 2003 and a junior college season in 2004.
That's why June and July are so important for the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder from Norman, Okla.
\"This is kind of a relaxed climate, which is nice,\" Taylor said. \"Without coaches there, it's usually not a tricky look that the secondary is giving us. Just running routes, and trying some of the plays we'll do in August, that's good for us.
\"But I liked it more in the spring when you'd have a coach always making sure your footwork was right or critiquing your dropbacks. I think we're all looking forward to getting back to practice.\"
Other things have happened since Taylor unseated returning starter Joe Dailey, who then transferred to North Carolina. Mulkey said Taylor is showing an ownership in the position that has made others take notice.
\"He's not cocky at all, but he has a lot of confidence in himself,\" Mulkey said. \"He got the job, and since then, he's acting like he's not going to let anybody take it from him.\"
Taylor said he wasted enough time being timid in spring practice. Now he wants to be the leader he thinks he's capable of being.
\"That's something I've had to work on,\" he said. \"I took a back-seat role when I first got here (in January). Now's a time where I have to step up.\"
Taylor took a break this weekend to work the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La. NU offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, a former Indianapolis assistant, hooked up Taylor through Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
When Taylor gets back, the accelerated process will continue as he tries to become the impact newcomer some publications are saying he might be in 2005. Those projections are largely based off Taylor throwing for 357 yards and three touchdowns in the April 16 spring game.
\"Zac's just taken everything and put a stranglehold on it,\" LeFlore said. \"Coming in, Zac was struggling. When he first got here, he wasn't saying anything. Now, I think he knows he can be a leader on this team.\"