When Darnell Taylor and Chris Rogers report to Bowers Stadium Saturday to open the 2013 season, they’ll be putting on a headset instead of a helmet.
Taylor and Rogers resumed their presence in the Sam Houston State football program as assistant coaches under head coach Willie Fritz. Both assistant coaches finished their senior season with SHSU against North Dakota State University in the FCS National Championship in January.
Fritz approached Taylor after the season to come back and coach for the program, Taylor said. The former safety said his experience as a coach deepened his understanding of the game.
“One thing that I’ve seen the most is when Coach Fritz talked about how hard you played,” he said. “You see it on film about how hard guys play each and every down when you get to watch film every single day.”
Working daily drills with the safeties and special teams, Taylor said he wants to teach his experience playing under Coach Fritz to 2013 freshmen class. According to Taylor, the incoming freshmen will help SHSU come home with a win in Frisco, Texas.
“I think they have it. I think they’re hungry to win and be good,” he said.
Rogers finished the 2012 season as a reserve offensive linemen for SHSU to help the Bearkats lead the Southland Conference in offense efficiency. Rogers works strictly with the offensive linemen and works the defensive scout team.
Rogers said he teaches his group to play hard to earn respect.
“Keep grinding and never stop,” he said. “As soon as you stop you’re labeled a quitter.”
The incoming freshmen class impressed Rogers during pre-season with their transition into Fritz’s offensive scheme, Rogers said. As a young coach, Rogers said preaching effort to players has become his role during practice.
“Coaching effort is what young coaches do,” he said. “We don’t know a lot about technique so we like to coach effort.”
Rogers and Taylor are in their senior year of classes and are expecting to return to football after graduation. Rogers said he is wanting to coach football at a smaller junior college if a position with SHSU does not open up in the future.
Taylor is recovering from a torn ACL inflicted during the 2012 FCS National Championship game against NDSU. During the summer, he worked out with a personal trainer in Mesquite, Texas and expects to train in the spring for the 2014 NFL draft.