All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In the "Carriker Chronicles" video series, he breaks down the latest NU news, upcoming opponents, player updates and recruiting information, and he offers his insight into the X's and O's and more.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Husker Zac Taylor about his plan for the Cincinnati Bengals, memories of his time at Nebraska, coaching in the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams and much more.
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Here's a transcript of today's show:
Adam Carriker: Welcome to the Carriker Chronicles, people's show, where we check the pulse of Husker Nation brought to you by Nebraska Spine Hospital. Today, I'm joined by former Husker quarterback, former Big 12 offensive player of the year, current member that Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, my former teammate and current Cincinnati Bengals head coach, Zac Taylor how you doing my man?
Zac Taylor: What's going on A.C.? Thanks for having me.
Adam Carriker: Oh, life's good, man. You're not doing too bad yourself. I gotta ask because I got your, your coaching, you know, A&M. You've coached at the Dolphins, the University of Cincinnati, with the Rams with the wide receivers, the quarterbacks coach. He had a fairly quick ascent up the coaching tree. What do you attribute that to and what was it like the day they offered you to be the Cincinnati Bengals head coach?
Zac Taylor: Well, I think I've had the opportunity to be around some great coaches and players. And I have been able to learn a little bit, something different from every single one that I've been around. And fortunately for the last two years, to be part of such a great organization like the Rams, work under Sean McVay, the culture that he created and a standard established really influenced me and the way that I think. So yeah, you're right. It's a dream come true when Cincinnati came calling. This is a place that my wife and I fell in love with three years ago. We were at the University of Cincinnati, and so it was a no brainer. You know, I couldn't be more excited to get on board. And it's a lot of work, but it's exciting work, so that's been fun to me so far know.
Adam Carriker: What are the pillars of your organization going to be. For example, Scott Frost, and Nebraska has no fear of failure. He wants his players to buy into that. Bill Belichick with the Patriots, it's do your job is their big thing. So what are you telling your staff, your players? What do you want the pillars of your organization to be there in Cincinnati.
Zac Taylor: Well, it's, you know, a thing will be it's about us. You know, it doesn't matter what goes on outside this building. All that matters is the players in this building, the coaches in this building that we're able to communicate with one another and live up to the standards that we're going to set for each other. And so we're bringing in the right people in this building that'll help establish those standards, and I just look forward to getting these players in here and get to work
Adam Carriker: So I gotta ask. I don't know how much you'll divulge. But it's a fun question, and I gotta ask it. Our former head coach, Mr. Bill Callahan, is he someone you might hire onto your coaching staff there?
Zac Taylor: Well, everybody, the whole, the whole staff. I think very highly of Bill. Actually, his son is my offensive coordinator, Brian, who I met 10 years ago, when Brian used to come to our practices. And Brian's really sharp football coach so I was excited to get him on staff as the office coordinator, and I think Bill, Bill's still in a contract with the Redskins. He's got, I mean, shoot he's, the world thinks so highly of him as an NFL line coach. So he's, he's somebody that's always obviously been a mentor to me, someone I think highly of and certainly influenced the way that I see the game. So he's doing a great job in Washington.
Adam Carriker: Do you remember some of those — cause every week our senior year, you, myself and Brandon Rigoni, we were he three captains. We'd meet in his office after the games. Do you remember some of those captains' meetings, and what I remember is some of them went okay and some of them we got our butts chewed. And I just, when I heard that you know, that it was a possibility you might be hired. I couldn't help a chuckle like the tables being turned. I'm not trying to be mean. This would be the same with any coach I've ever had. You know the tables get turned a little bit so I was kind of curious how that might play out, but do you remember some of those captains' meetings in his office? I think every Monday we would do them or Sunday. Do you remember some of those?
Zac Taylor: Oh, I do. I have, it was six o'clock on Sunday nights. We'd get done watching the film with our coaches, and yeah, you're right. Me, you and Rigs are going in. I think it was for, shoot, any, any variation of time. It could have been five minutes or 30 minutes, but yeah, I recall it the same way you do. Some of them were really good, and some of them were tough to hear. But you know that was that was the job the three of us the signed up for. Yeah, those were the days I see man. That was long time ago.
Adam Carriker: Those were the days. Oh, and come on, don't say it was a long time ago. I just don't like to hear that out loud. All right. My kids think I'm a dinosaur. I'm like I'm 34. I'm not that old. But anyways, what are your some of your favorite memories from your time in Nebraska?
Zac Taylor: First of all, it was the great people now I've been around a lot of a lot of different organizations, teams and coaches. The players in that building were just, you know, we were a mature group. And I think that's a, that's a positive trait of just being at Nebraska. You know, kids were raised the right way and they all dreamed to be Nebraska football players. And so just the culture in that locker room I thought so highly of during my two years there, but there's some of those games, you know, that, that Colorado game in 2005 followed by the Michigan game. And then our senior year, you know, when I'm about to be A&M. And those are probably the three games that stick out the most to me. That were a lot of fun to be a part of. And I think you'd agree with that.
Adam Carriker: So the A&M game was unique for me because I tend to get motion sickness pretty easily. I don't know if you remember, but I would look in the stands and they were going back and forth, some weird way I've never seen. And I would get dizzy, and I would like almost feel like I was gonna throw up. So I would literally — and you can't see what I'm doing right now, but if the folks are watching the video — I would literally have to stare at the ground in the huddle listen to the play call, walk up to where the line of scrimmage was and put my hand in the dirt and go. And even on the sidelines, I would sit you know on the bench, but my head had to, head had to be down while I was talking to our coaches. Did you experience anything like that that? Did it bother you? Like I literally couldn't look up the whole game it was crazy.
Zac Taylor: I haven't coached there for four years I remember the stadium swaying when I was in the press box. What I remember specifically about that game different than the others is the ribbon that went around the you know, it was a multiple tiers stadium.
Adam Carriker: Yeah.
Zac Taylor: And the ribbon with the advertising with flashlights, and it was a night game. And I was always trying to find the play clock in that two minutes drive and this ribbon with different colors would flash around the stadium and distract me where you couldn't find a play clock. And so it's kind of along the lines of your motion sickness. I was dealing with this, these flashing lights that were happening that wouldn't help me, you know, find the clock that I needed to be able to do my job. So they have got that place set up for some success, some home field advantage. And I certainly experienced that my four years as a coach. It's a it's a hard place to play when you're the road team.
Adam Carriker: I remember that Colorado game you were talking about in 2005. There was basically the fight at midfield, and then, we pretty much stomped a mud hole into them and walk the drive. In Michigan, it was a big time favorite. We were behind came back and won the bowl game. And then that A&M game you and you had the pass and the two minute drive to come back versus A&M the pass to Maurice Purify for the touchdown to put us ahead. So I remember all those games those are pretty good.
Zac Taylor: Well, I mean who had the sack in the game though? You know, don't wanna forget that.
Adam Carriker: Well, I'm not gonna brag about myself, you know. I mean, anyway. I was gonna ask you actually and feel free to be honest. People who watch this show love honesty. Do you have any memories of Adam Carriker? And they can be embarrassing or they can be otherwise. You have any memories of Adam Carriker, your former teammate, you'd like to share with the fine folks listening?
Zac Taylor: Oh yeah, yeah. My favorite memory of Adam Carriker was when I didn't practice in a sprint practice, and we let Harrison Beck put on the pads and go out there. And you got a clear cut sack at him, and he spiked the ball on the ground and acted like people transferring and ran away. And it's all because, all because you broke free, and you actually went on him so.
Adam Carriker: I remember that. I do have another question for you. This is going to pertain to your beautiful wife, Sarah. So I'm sure you remember when we were in college, she helped with the media. She helped set up interviews and things of that nature. And back then, I wasn't so much a fan of public speaking. I wasn't so much a fan of the media, and I didn't really like doing any of that crap to be honest with you. So thank you for joining me today. But she asked me to do an interview and you know, I don't like it when people don't do what they say they're going to do and when people don't respond like, so this wasn't my proudest moment.
But it was a freezing cold day. And I said I would do it. I went to lunch, and I was going to come back after lunch and do it. Instead, I walked all the way around. I had no jacket. I had no pants, sleeveless shirt. I think I even had socks and sandals. And I went all the way around the entire stadium to avoid doing this interview. And I was freezing cold. And I'll never forget, I went to the cold tub after I did, contrast hot cold. So I wound up in the hot tub. I'm in the cold tub and here comes Sarah, you have to ask her about this. And she is just storming mad. I mean, she's red like Santa Claus' suit on Christmas in her face. She storms into where the cold tub is and she rips into me like a monkey on a cupcake. And I'll tell you what, I didn't say a word because I deserved every single thing she was doing to me and saying to me so you have to ask her if she remembers that because I remember and then asking you for an interview here today. I thought that was kind of ironic.
Zac Taylor: You know I certainly remember that story. You know that just makes one of us because she's never been mad at me in the years we've been married. I think she had that issue with quite a few players. She was in charge of pulling them away for media interviews and sometimes they didn't want to do them. That's the life of a GA in the sports and information department I guess.
Adam Carriker: Yeah, I don't doubt it. How many kids do you and Sarah have now?
Zac Taylor: We got four. Brooks and Luke, my sons, are eight and six, and my daughters, Emma Clare and Nellie, they'll be three and one here in April.
Adam Carriker: Well tell Sarah and the family I said hello if you would.
Zac Taylor: I will, you bet.
Adam Carriker: I got written down here, I only want to ask one question about it because I know people who played and coached in the Super Bowl and if they lose you know it's kind of a hard pill to swallow like (Jeff) Fisher. He coached for the Titans when they played the Rams in 99, the whole one yard. You know they were one yard short. I know we scrimmaged against them in 09 in preseason, he still hadn't watched the game tape 10 years later. So I'm just gonna ask one question. What was your Super Bowl experience like? What are the memories like and what are your thoughts after having been in the last Super Bowl?
Zac Taylor: It was a great thing to experience. It's a whirlwind two weeks, you know, you got to deal with the family and the rooms and the passes and all this stuff. And so it can be a little bit stressful in that regard. But then once you finally that get there to Atlanta just hone in on football for that last week, and you know you deal with the media every day — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — for about an hour a day and it's this build up for two weeks of playing this game and then it was like before you knew it, there's seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. And you know you gotta go make a play to win the Super Bowl. And so just the build up happens for so long and then the game ends so quickly that it's hard to process it all. And so I haven't even gotten a chance to process it because, you know, most guys get a chance to go back and reflect on the game, and watch the game, grade it and all that stuff. But for me, I had to go start this new life opportunity that I had in Cincinnati so I don't know what I'll watch it from start to finish. There's a lot of things you can learn from that game that I know I need to learn from and be able to communicate to my future players. So at some point, I'll watch it. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
Adam Carriker: Now I'm going to shift to Nebraska football. Have you been able to watch much Nebraska football? Obviously you've been busy coaching and you know if you have been able to watch much what are your thoughts on the state of Nebraska football?
Zac Taylor: Well, I probably haven't gotten to watch a full game in a long time but I've always been a fan of Scott Frost, you know, just the way he's leads those players and coaches, and the culture he's built, and just what he's about. Troy Walters and I coached together. Greg Austin and I obviously played together ... all those guys that are just quality people, about the right things and winning at Nebraska is very important to them. And they believe in the systems they have in place, and it was a hard year this year, but great things are in store for them. And I'm excited to watch them going into the future.
Adam Carriker: I'm curious, you're an offensive-minded NFL head coach. What are your thoughts on Scott Frost's style of offense?
Zac Taylor: I'm all for it. You know, he spreads the field, he plays a great tempo. He's not overly complicated, but to the defense it probably appears that way but I'm sure if you sat in their meeting rooms, it's core stuff they're just putting a lot of window dressing on. So his players believe in the system. He always gets the most out of his quarterback, I mean they always lead the league in passing efficiency every year just about every team he's ever been a part of. So as a quarterback, when you see Scott Frost's quarterbacks usually one or two in the country past seven or eight years that's usually pretty impressive stat so it's a fun offense to watch and and I hope Husker nation is enjoying Scott and his staff.
Adam Carriker: Now, in your opinion, what's the biggest improvement you'd like to see the Huskers make this year?
Zac Taylor: Well, I think anytime you're in the first year of a staff, you're teaching guys how to close out games, and so I don't want speak for them because I don't know, I haven't been around there. But I certainly think that they've got some talent that they're injecting into that program and they got some good veteran leaders and once you get that whole year ... everyone understands the culture you're trying to build and usually you see pretty dramatic improvement there in year two.
Adam Carriker: All right, what's the biggest thing you'd like to see the Cincinnati Bengals improve on this year?
Zac Taylor: Well, right now it's just about setting our culture and getting the right people in this building and being the best communicators in the NFL. We're going to set high standards for guys make sure that they live up to them. I'm not going to set any expectations for what we got when it comes to season, I just know how we're going to build this thing one day at a time so I'm excited to get that process started when these guys get the building here on April 9.
Adam Carriker: Do you have any sort of, and I know you handle this question however you want to, some people a little bit more on point, some people are a little less comfortable with it but do you have any predictions for what the Huskers' record might be this year? This is more kind of a fun question or when do you think the Huskers will be back competing for championships again?
Zac Taylor: I know that they have a young quarterback that I would imagine they believe in and that's usually pretty critical and again it's year two of their systems and their culture that they've established. So I think it's impossible to predict because I don't know the other teams they're going to face but I would imagine that they're on course to start competing for championships here in the Big Ten sooner rather than later.
Adam Carriker: I'm sure there's some Bengals fans listening as well as Nebraska fans ... final question, you got a message you'd like to relate to (I don't know do you call them Bengal nation?) to Bengals fans out there?
Zac Taylor: Well we're just going to do things the right way here and it's all about the people and we're going to get people that we believe in, coaches we believe in, the players are going to buy into our systems ... we're going to put an exciting brand of football on the field when the season rolls out in September and I'm just excited to get it all started.
Adam Carriker: All right man, good luck in the future. I want to thank you for joining me and I appreciate your time.
Zac Taylor: Thanks a lot.
Adam Carriker: Alright. Until next time Husker nation, Go Big Red — and even though he's a former offensive player, Go Big Red and always remember to...
Zac Taylor: Throw the bones!
Thanks again to the Nebraska Spine Hospital. Ladies and gentlemen, when it’s your spine, you do not want to mess around. Experience matters. That’s why you can trust the experts at Nebraska Spine Hospital, the region's only spine specific hospital. They are the best at what they do.
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