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Purdue's Taylor has fresh perspective after injury

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The view Jaycen Taylor wanted last year consisted of several large, angry men chasing after him, or better yet, a patch of open grass leading toward two big posts.

Instead, Taylor watched it all from the sideline after tearing the ACL in his right knee during preseason camp at Purdue.

But Taylor's view wasn't all bad.

"I understand coaches try to see it how we see things and players usually don't see it as coaches see it," Taylor said, "but since I sat out and saw what they saw, it'll help me more this year."

Taylor is back on the field for Purdue's preseason camp and competing for carries with a deep group of talented running backs. The Boilers lose leading rusher Kory Sheets, but no position group looked more impressive in the spring than the backs, particularly Ralph Bolden and Dan Dierking. Heralded freshman Al-Terek McBurse is also on the field this month in West Lafayette.

After sharing carries with Sheets in 2006 and 2007, Taylor boasts by far the most experience of the backs. He has 1,237 rush yards on 220 career carries and ranks fourth on the school's all-time list with 5.62 yards per carry.

But after a year away from the field, Taylor knows his numbers don't mean a whole lot.

"Whether I have the most experience or the least experience," he said, "I need to be out there and prove myself to the coaches."

Taylor was limited during spring ball but has been fully cleared for camp. He trusts the knee on cuts and plants but knows the true test comes with the pads on.

"I just have to get tackled and see how that feels," he said.

It surely will beat sitting out.

As he rehabbed his knee, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Taylor spent the year working on his upper-body strength. But his biggest gains came between the ears.

"I was watching and being able to read things before they even happen," he said. "I hope to be able to see things faster and sooner, so I can make my decisions off that."