Veteran presence: Arnold wants even better season at SA as a senior

Taylor Arnold

Staff Writer

Taylor Arnold wants to do whatever he can to help the Starkville Academy Volunteers have success on the football field.

If he can rush for 1,400 or 1,500 yards in the process, which is a goal of his, then that's an added bonus.

Arnold is one of the seniors for the Vols going into the 2018 season and wants to be a leader on offense. He plans to be there for junior quarterback Garrett Lewis and also serves as the backup signal caller.

"Anything that Garrett needs help with, I've been there a little bit," Arnold said. "I'm experienced so I'm going to do whatever I can to help him."

Starkville Academy head football coach Chase Nicholson said it's key to have a player with the presence and talent returning as Arnold does.

Nicholson knows what to expect from Arnold at each practice and for each game.

"You expect him to come in and be Taylor," Nicholson said. "He understands he's a year older and has got to be a year better. He can't be satisfied with what he did last year. He brings leadership to the offensive side and he's the skilled guy."

Arnold's production last season was one of the reasons the Vols won the Class AAA State championship. He had 1,291 yards rushing on 183 carries and 10 touchdowns.

As impressive as those individual numbers are, Arnold said he wouldn't have gotten the totals without the room to run.

"The offensive line was really good last year," Arnold said. "They gave me plenty of holes to run through and it was nice having that."

Nicholson can't think of anyone better to have in the backfield with his underclassman at quarterback than Arnold.

The veteran voice that Arnold provides will benefit Nicholson's offense.

"You're getting a brand new quarterback back there and he's getting to stand next to someone who can help keep guys straight, keep things going in the right direction, make sure nobody is out of place and answers questions on the fly because he understands the offense," Nicholson said. "That's the great thing about having a backup quarterback there with your (starting) quarterback. He has knowledge of the offense and what's going on.

"We know he's going to bring athleticism and a lot of strengths, but he's also going to have mental capacity as well as presence on the field that will be important."