ORLANDO ——Tyrod Taylor created some buzz when practice began for the East-West Shrine Game earlier this week.
The former Virginia Tech quarterback opted not to take reps at any other position other than quarterback.
It was a choice the baffled some NFL scouts and NFL draft gurus, but Taylor (6-1/210) proved that it was a solid decision on Saturday night, as he completed 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards and rushed for 11 yards during the annual college all-star game in Orlando.
Taylor's East team beat the West squad 25-8.
"I was comfortable today, playing and going in," Taylor said. "I was comfortable with all the plays Coach (Dan Reeves) gave me. I just wanted to go out there and have fun."
As the reigning ACC Player of the Year, Taylor was not asked to play his typical role of playmaker during the all-star game.
Instead he thrived as an efficient game manager, showing that he is capable of either role. That's because he had help from a strong running game and a stifling defense.
Former Syracuse running back Delone Carter ran for 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for the East squad, a performance that earned him the offensive MVP award.
The East team's defense carried the load as well, as the unit had six sacks, an interception, four forced fumbles and a safety.
With a 19-8 lead at halftime, Taylor's snaps and passing attempts were limited in the second half. He also had to split reps with two other quarterbacks.
"That's the thing, when you have the lead you just don't want to make mistakes that will cost you a game," said Reeves, a former NFL head coach and the head coach of the East team. "And (Taylor) protected the football."
Reeves has heard analysts talk about how Taylor is better suited to play wide receiver or running back in the NFL and he doesn't buy into that theory.
"If I was involved in it, he would have to prove to me he can't play quarterback," said Reeves, who played running back for the Dallas Cowboys. "That's his natural position. I did that, I was a quarterback in college and ended up making that transition but I was very, very fortunate … but that's a difficult transition and I certainly didn't have the ability to throw the football (like Taylor does)."
Taylor threw for 2,743 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Hokies last year and ran for 659 yards and five scores. That athleticism, coupled with the fact that he does not have ideal height for the quarterback position, is why many have suggested Taylor change positions in the NFL.
But after displaying his ability to make passes from under center and from the shotgun formation through the week of practice for the East-West Shrine Game, Taylor feels he has proved many of his doubters wrong.
"That's the only position I've ever played," said Taylor, who has played quarterback since he was 5-years-old. "I've never actually played any other position. I showed I was a quarterback this weekend but I still have to prove to people that I'm a quarterback and that's what I do every time I step on the football field. I have no problem proving that."
Taylor had been training for the NFL combine, which starts Feb. 23, before to heading to Orlando. He will restart his regiment Monday.