GatorZone.com Senior Writer
BATON ROUGE, La. -- A lot of the questions about Kelvin Taylor (and there were a bunch last week) were answered Saturday at Tiger Stadium.
Taylor, the true freshman tailback and son of former Florida All-America running back Fred Taylor, was needed against 10th-ranked LSU after starter Matt Jones suffered a knee injury and backup Mack Brown left the game with a sore ankle.
Enter Taylor, the 5-foot-10, 214-pounder, who carried 10 times for 52 yards in UF’s 17-6 loss, showing bursts of speed and the kind of decisive cuts and north-south running that will please his coaches when they go to review the tape in the coming days.
“He hit the hole and was patient,” junior quarterback Tyler Murphy said. “A kid like that is very explosive. He came close to breaking a few tackles and maybe taking one to the house.”
It’s likely Taylor will get another chance at a house call.
UF coach Will Muschamp said Jones would be evaluated further. Brown, who led the Gators with 56 yards on 15 carries against the Tigers, returned to the game and shared duties with Taylor.
It was Brown who started the season opener while Jones was sidelined with a bad viral infection. It took a few weeks for Jones to get into game shape and assume his No. 1 place in the backfield. If Jones is sidelined for any length of time, his spot could go to Brown, but Taylor showed he’s more than capable of giving the offense a lift; maybe a little change of pace with his ability to accelerate through traffic.
“The last three weeks he’s been getting better and better,” Brown said. “I knew when he got into a game, when he got his opportunity, he was going to be very good.”
As a freshman, Taylor is not permitted to speak to reporters, per team rules.
Brown, though, added that Taylor had some of his best practices last week. Muschamp seconded that.
Those practices got Taylor on the field.
“A lot of guys play like they practice,” Muschamp said. “I thought he did a nice job [in the game]. We still have to clean up some things in [pass] protections. You run the ball, that’s one thing. You also have to block and block the right guy.”
Taylor may not have been on point with that phase of his game, but he did enough with the ball in his hands that no one will be asking Muschamp or offensive coordinator Brent Pease about a redshirt season (it’s past the deadline for anyway); or why Taylor, one of the top tailback prospects in the nation last year, had just one carry through the first five games (we'll assume more are coming); or why he lined up in victory formation against Arkansas last week when the offense was taking knees to run out the clock.
He’s going to play.
"What he did was really impressive,” senior wide receiver Trey Burton said. “I’m excited for him and his future.”