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What Jackson State football's T.C. Taylor is doing differently than Deion Sanders

Jackson State football coach T.C. Taylor is no Deion Sanders, and that doesn't mean it's a negative.

Taylor, a former JSU receiver, waited his turn to succeed Sanders at his alma mater and even received Sanders' verbal backing before the Pro Football Hall of Famer left the post for Colorado.

So how are Taylor and Sanders different or similar? Here are three ways:

Similar: TC Taylor likes slogans

Taylor made a statement about his first team with the help of his wife, Dawn Taylor. Together they came up with this year's slogan: "Guard Thee Yard and Protect Thee Block."

Making sense of the slogan, Taylor said there were other opportunities to coach at other schools but he chose to stay at Jackson State. One of the goals was to finish business and win the Celebration Bowl. JSU has been to the Black national championship game the last two consecutive seasons, before losing to South Carolina State, 31-10, in 2021 and North Carolina Central in 2022.

The use of slogans isn't new. Sanders brought in his "I Believe" and "Who is SWAC" phrases during his three-season tenure with the Tigers.

Different: Pilates

One of the differences this season compared to last year is Taylor felt his team looked stiff. He wanted to create more flexibility and loosen them up and hired a Pilates instructor.

"I thought we were stiff last year," Taylor said. "I watched them working out during conditioning in Pilates and they are really sweating, it will help us during the season."

Different: Bigger offensive linemen

In 2021, Jackson State won the SWAC and lost to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl. The Bulldogs were more physical team on both sides of the ball.

In this past season's loss to North Carolina Central in the Celebration Bowl, the Eagles ran over the Tigers defense, something no team had done with consistency the entire season.

"I thought in the championship game we got pushed around in the trenches" Taylor said. "I wanted to get bigger. It is hard to move 6-foot-8, 280 pounds or 6-foot-7, 350 pounds. We wanted to get more physical and bigger on the offensive line and defensive line position."

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Taylor's focus this offseason was the offensive line. After losing All-American Tyler Brown to Colorado, Taylor wanted to get bigger and more physical on the offensive line. Of the seven offensive line men recruited, four of them weigh over 300 pounds.

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"We always go after the best available player" Taylor said. "I'm a big believer in going out and getting what you need. I don't want to be stockpiling guys, I think that is how you lose guys to the portal."

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"I feel like you build depth at the positions you need, and you play those guys, and you keep your word with them. You be honest with them through the recruiting process. We do a good job of attacking the parents. A lot of coaches recruit the athletes; we recruit the family. I think the parents appreciate that."

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: What Jackson State's TC Taylor is doing differently than Deion Sanders