By TOM LEA
MADISON – The Wisconsin football team typically takes the field about 40-45 minutes before a given game starts mainly to go through team warm up drills. By that time they’re in uniform and running through whatever they need to run through in the minutes leading into a game.
About 90 minutes before kickoff you can see several players (not dressed in full uniforms) on the field performing various stretches and other calisthenics.
Last week at Purdue, both Chris Borland and Mike Taylor were on the filed before team warm-ups. Borland was locked in and doing various yoga moves, pushups and other stretches.
Taylor seemed to always have a ball in his hand. Eventually, he struck up a conversation with Borland around the 20-yard line.
This is where it got crazy.
Borland started back peddling away from Taylor, finally winding up around midfield. That’s when Taylor, clearly getting ready to throw the ball he was holding, waved him to go deeper much like an ambitious older brother would with his younger brother.
“He loves his arm,” Borland said. “He loves when he gets a chance to showcase his arm.”
By the time Borland stopped he was standing on the opposite 10-yard line, 70 yards from Taylor. Taylor, still standing on the 20-yard line, calmly took a couple steps back, crow-hopped and fired a perfect 70-yard bomb in the direction of Borland.
The junior middle linebacker didn’t have to move to catch it.
“If I would have warmed up I would have got another six or seven yards out of it,” Taylor, with a big smile on his face, said. “I always joke I could play quarterback. Coach has got to give me a chance.”
It was very impressive.
“Growing up and just playing football, especially in my family since I’m the middle child, we were always competitive,” Taylor said. “We run a race it’s who’s the fastest? Who can throw the furthest, who can lift the most weights? It’s all about being competitive.
“I just have a strong arm I guess.”
The legend of Taylor’s athleticism — he was also a prep state wrestling champion in the 215-pound division — doesn’t end there. His 12 years as a soccer player growing up helped his kicking game.
Not only does he have a strong arm. He also seems to be pretty capable as a field goal kicker.
“That’s right,” he said. “In high school I kicked a 55-yard field goal. That was in practice or during warm up for a game. My longest in a game was 47 yards. That’s pretty long.
“Soccer kick for sure.”
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