Sac State football team spring practice begins under new coach


Ashton Byers - The State Hornet

Junior running back Elijah Dotson smiles as spring football practices begins around him. As a sophomore in 2018, he led the team in rushing with over 1,000 yards.

Ashton Byers

Sacramento State football opened its spring football season March 26 with new head coach Troy Taylor at the helm.

Taylor replaced Jody Sears as head football coach for the Hornet’s upcoming season. Taylor previously served as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Utah in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

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The new coach is giving a fresh outlook to some players, like running back Elijah Dotson, challenging them to come together as a team before the season begins at home Aug. 31 against Southern Oregon University.

Dotson, named first team all-Big Sky Conference as a sophomore last season, was the only Hornet to go over 1,000 yards on the ground and had five games in which he went over 140 rushing yards.

Now, under a new coach, Dotson said he is looking to continue to improve.

“Personally, (the) weaknesses I want to work on are pass protection, ball security, things like that,” Dotson said. “As a team, I think we need to work on our team chemistry. Having new coaches, we get to have a different feel for each other and work on playing together.”

Taylor’s roots are deep in the Sacramento area. As a high school quarterback at Cordova High School, Taylor was awarded a football scholarship to University of California, Berkeley. After setting the school passing record, he was drafted by the New York Jets, where Taylor played for two seasons.

RELATED: Football coach Troy Taylor’s first season at Sac State taking shape

Following his playing days, Taylor became the head coach at Folsom High School where he won a state championship before moving up to the collegiate level.

“I love being back, and I love the team,” Taylor said. “We’re still trying to figure out where they are in their football abilities, but they’re really good guys. They want to be good, they work hard, and it’s important to them. It’s just about the day to day.”

The Hornets have returned some of their leading players from last year, including quarterback Kevin Thomson, who has two years of eligibility remaining.

Taylor has a history of training successful quarterbacks.

At Folsom, he helped quarterback Jake Browning throw for a national record of 91 touchdowns in his senior season. Browning went on to the University of Washington, where he just completed his senior year as the university’s all-time leading passer.

Dotson said that he knows that it takes time for the offense to become high powered. He just wants to improve so that he can help build a more potent, high-profile offense.

“We’re not too worried about winning, just focusing on ourselves and after that whatever comes,” Dotson said. “We focus on that day. I’m not satisfied with what happened last season, I wasn’t too worried about my stats.”

Sac State finished last season 2-8, which led to the school firing head coach Jody Sears. The Hornets will have spring practice until April 27, then will regroup over the summer before getting ready for the season to start.