Taliaferro relives hit while reviewing film

Friday, October 26, 2001

By Ray Fittipaldo, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley had one play removed from his copy of the Penn State-Ohio State videotape from last season. It was the play when Adam Taliaferro's spinal cord was severely injured when he made a tackle against Jerry Westbrooks late in a 45-6 loss Sept. 23.

When Bradley and the players went out to practice one day this week, Taliaferro popped in another tape of the game and watched the play that changed the rest of his life. Now a special assistant to Bradley, Taliaferro relived that fateful day this week as he pored over another videotape from the game that included the play.

"When they were at practice, I kept watching the tape," Taliaferro said. "It's kind of tough."

But Taliaferro had a job to do, so he rewound it two or three times, the way any other coach would do when scrutinizing game tape.

"I've seen it a lot of times," Taliaferro said. "This was the first time I saw it on game tape. I looked at more than the injury. I looked at the receivers. I do it to see if I can catch things that Coach Bradley and the players don't see."

Taliaferro is in every defensive meeting with coaches and players. He is not yet allowed on the practice field, so he analyzes more videotape when the team in on the practice field. That's how he came across the tape of the injury.

It's also how he saw Ohio State passing on the first play after he was carried off the field and scoring a touchdown two plays later. Talk about adding insult to injury.

"They were still passing," Taliaferro said. "Guys do remember that. I'd be surprised if guys didn't take that into consideration if we were winning."

He said teammates have not brought it up yet, but they're probably saving that for a team meeting tonight or a fiery pregame speech tomorrow.

"It put a bad taste in my mouth," senior Eddie Drummond said. "I'm going to come out real fired up for this game."

When Taliaferro isn't helping Bradley, he is busy rehabilitating. He lifts weights almost every day and walks on the treadmill every other day.

"I feel myself getting a lot stronger," he said. "I'm hitting the weights a lot more. I'm still trying to get to that jog. I'm not sure when it's going to happen, but I'll just keep pushing until I'm able to."

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