By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It's strange how many similiarities there are between the Taylor twins.
Then again, it's completely understandable.
The Taylors, Cary and Gary, are identical twins who made names for themselves early last season only to end up relegated to complete obscurity.
Both have earned better roster spots this season and look to make an impact Ä that is, when they recuperate. Coincidentally, each is suffering from preseason injuries, which may delay their progress.
Cary, a wide receiver and kickoff returner, took last season's opening kickoff 83 yards against UTEP. He was injured on that play and finished the season with just two touchdowns.
"I was looking forward to a big season last year but I was always fighting injuries," Cary said.
Cary is expected to see limited action tonight because of a lingering groin pull.
Gary had one big game last year, picking up a UA season-best 174 yards rushing while filling in for Ontiwaun Carter during the Pacific game. Not much else really happened to him for the rest of the year either, as he was eventually re-assigned to his third string status.
"It was kind of frustrating for me to come in and have a good game and then not any reps in the next few games," Gary said. "It was real frustrating but I started to get adjusted to it and realized I had to wait awhile because we had such a good backfield."
Gary has missed practice since spraining his shoulder at Camp Cochise and is hoping to return next week against New Mexico State.
The Taylors are both looking forward to the time when they can each establish an identity. Lately, injuries seem to be their biggest roadblock.
"I think they can both be really fine players," Arizona coach Dick Tomey said. "They just have to get completely well and get out to practice before they maximize their potential."
Growing up, the Taylors began playing a lot of sports together besides football. From track to baseball, soccer to basketball, the twins always liked to play together.
As 19-year-olds, they still enjoy being on the same field.
"It helps us both out when we play together," Cary said. "He inspires me and I inspire him. He's my worst critic and I'm his worst critic."
Hoping to establish themselves in their positions this fall, both intend to run track next spring without jeopardizing their status as spring football commences.
The brothers look so much alike that other players have given them each the nickname "Twin," which others use when they can't figure out who's who.
"We focus a lot on confusing people," Gary said. "We try to do it sometimes and have a little fun. It works most of the time. The only time a person could tell us apart is if they've been around us for a long time. That's when they start noticing things because our personalities are a little different. If they haven't been around us, we can do it."
Once when they were in high school, the two switched jerseys. Gary played his brother's quarterback position and Cary moved to running back.
"The only way they'd know is if we were running a pass play. I wouldn't know the correct form to throw the ball," Gary said. "I could throw just as far but my coach could identify if I was throwing the wrong way."
Said Cary: "We haven't tried that here. Maybe one day we might try it."
It would probably work.
"They would confuse me," Tomey said. "I can't tell them apart."
Off the field, the two are the best of friends. Usually, wherever one is, the other is nearby.
They are so alike that they share nearly all the same preferences in clothes, hobbies and food.
"Sometimes I could just take the words out of his mouth before he says anything," Cary said. "It's strange, he does the same to me."
Like most siblings, however, they've had their differences.
When the two were in junior high, they got into fights all the time. There were also a few conflicts because they had to share the same room until they finished high school. Now, they live peacefully in separate rooms.
One particular incident united the pair while nearly ending not just their football careers, but their lives.
The brothers were in the back seat of a car which was leaving the parking lot of the Green Dolphin, a since-closed college bar on Park Avenue. Suddenly, they heard the clatter of gunfire.
Both reacted by ducking down and Cary instinctively reached over to make sure his brother's head was down. While reaching over, a bullet pierced through Cary's skin at his elbow and came out the other side.
"It was like a reflex to him," Gary said of his brother forcing him down. "If he wasn't already down, I would have been trying to push his head down. He'll put himself before me and I'll do the same for him."
The brothers grew up in a part of San Diego where gunfire wasn't an uncommon sound, but they never thought it would happen to them in Tucson.
For now, the Taylors hope to put that nightmare behind them and turn their focus toward Arizona's football season. They also hope they will continue to keep others guessing as to which is Gary and which is Cary, something that, of course, is easy to do.
"It scares me sometimes because we are like the identical person," Gary said. "It's almost like looking in a mirror."
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