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To redshirt or not to redshirt?

The Kelvin Taylor Dilemma.

Florida’s five-star freshman tailback -- one of the most ballyhooed running back recruits in Florida history and the state’s all-time leading rusher -- has just one more carry than his retired dad, Fred, since Florida’s season opener.

Against Toledo on Aug. 31, Taylor carried the ball five times for 43 yards on Florida’s final possession in a 24-6 victory. The Swamp went bananas. The Gator Nation was positive the brief cameo was merely a tease of the future.  

Perhaps it will be, but maybe the distant future.

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 12.22.07 PM
(Kelvin Taylor. No. 21)

Taylor has tallied just a single carry in Florida’s last three games -- a ho-hum three-yard run against Tennessee. As I joked in the UF-UT retro diary, the crowd roared in adulation for the most mundane of plays. Gators fans love them some Kelvin Taylor -- perhaps irrationally so right now.

Taylor’s path to the present has been well documented.

An early enrollee in January, Taylor had an excellent spring camp, before hitting the proverbial freshman wall in August. He struggled through a frustrating training camp, plagued by issues with ball security, pass protection and playbook knowledge.

When the 2013 season kicked off, Taylor was buried on the depth chart behind Matt Jones, Mack Brown, Mr. Red Herring Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers.

But then the Toledo performance happened -- albeit versus an undersized and gassed front -- and Taylor’s role seemed to be reevaluated.

Following his strong debut Muschamp said the following about his freshman tailback:

“I think his role will continue to develop through the season. We’ll see how much as we move forward. He’s a natural runner, he has really good vision. He has to continue to do some of the other things you have to do at the position. But he’s a guy we’re excited about, no question.”

Muschamp also highlighted Taylor’s development, saying, “It’s been night and day [since spring camp].”

Miami: 0 carries. Tennessee: one rush. Kentucky: 0 carries.

And yet, the praise for Taylor continues.  

UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease -- before the Tennessee game -- “Kelvin has done a lot better in practice. He’s hitting that flow like Matt [Jones] did last year when Matt started showing up and doing good things in practice and he started taking off. Kelvin is starting to hit that.”

Pease -- after the Kentucky game -- “He’s still in the mix. We want to get him in there. I think coach [Brian] White has a good feel on how he controls those guys and how the game flow is going and where we’ve got to pick our spots. It’s hard with one ball, three players. They’re all capable. They’re all very good. A couple of them have experience. We spot guys in certain packages to use at certain times. We’ve got to continue. The good thing about it is they’ve all been very unselfish and they’ve all grown and continued to practice real well.”

Hollow words? Classic coach speak? When asked if Taylor was once again a redshirt candidate, Pease emphatically stated: “No.”

But the “one ball, three players” thing gets extra tricky when you include Valdez Showers -- who returns Saturday against Arkansas after missing Florida’s previous two games -- into the mix as well.

Before Jones’ exposition against Kentucky (career-high 176 yards and touchdown), Muschamp stated repeatedly the Gators would go with a “hot hand” approach at tailback.

Loosely translated: If not Jones then Mack Brown.

Taylor’s preseason fumblitis was certainly a cause for concern -- especially coupled with Jones’ own early season ball security issues -- but there’s been no indication Taylor is still struggling in practice. It appears, he's simply not ready to play in the SEC. 

Said Jones: “He has a great work ethic. Sometimes when you don’t get in as a freshman it is kind of hard of you coming from high school, like I was last year. I was kind of the same way, like why wasn’t I getting in. But sometimes, you’re not ready for the SEC or whatever. I think he’s ready. It’s not my decision. But his demeanor is great in practice.”

Jones does know what Taylor feels like, but I’m not sure his freshman season is a comparable litmus test. In 2012, UF’s staff practically begged Jones to topple Brown for the backup job. Ultimately, he did.

This year, Taylor is in no position to leapfrog Jones or Brown. And now this week, he’s again battling Showers for third-string reps. 

To redshirt or not to redshirt? 

Most signs point to one direction.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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Lol...why didnt they play him at Miami? Everyone else was fumbling the ball. Sounds like he is not ready for ACC play either. If he is not good enough to play against lowly Kentucky, he may never see the field. Tennessee would have been a good game to get him some reps. Arkansas will too. Sounds like another 5 star bust for florida.

Although it must be hard to play extras when U have to keep your starters in .... UMs third stri.gers would have seen playing time against kentucky. They even played the waterboy in one game just for shltsand giggles. I guess every team cant do that though. What ever happened to reloading? Wasnt that y'alls claim to fame? Six turnovers against UM and he still couldnt get in?

He looks like he's as soft as toll house cookie, redshirt him.

No red shirt. Now that Jones is back in the groove, extra carries will be hard to come by. Still we should play him some just to give him some experience for next year. Mack brown is a solid backup. Showers is a different type of back, change of pace, catches out of the backfield type of guy, I don't think he is the main competition for Taylor.
We do need to find some carries during the season for him. Plenty of time left, plenty of games to be played.
It's not as if we have no choice to play him right now, we have the luxury to limit his carries.
No problem here.
Go Gators!

This cane guy will get the last laugh when MOF loses 4 games and drags our strength of schedule into the toilet. The pollsters will surely put an asterisk besides September 7 after FSU mercilessly destroys them and Jimbo falls on his face in hogtown in late Nov.

The over/under on JW yards is 550 against MOF defense.

I posted this a few blogs back but Jessie is damn good at keeping things real here. Besides Adam's site, Jessie you're the next best. Adam is a tough act to follow. Anyhow, everyone should see this:

Virgin, since you have no life, no job, and a plastic girlfriend, I thought you 'd enjoy this

Btw, telling someone "what are you 14 years old" when you admit that you come on here because some so called gator fan did it first on the cane blog is the epitome of someone with no life. So go on and reply with your BS and prove my point.

No one with a wife or girlfriend is this obsessed. You make this fun virgin, congrats.

but we clap our hands like a bunch of retards....what gives?

Lil JLO post under so many names, I am not sure how he/she does it, Multiple personalities? Oh well guess there is always next year lil gator lover. You were right when you said "No problem here" because everyone knows the gator will be out of the top 25 after the Hogs whoop that arss.

The over/under on JW yards is 550 against MOF defense.

Posted by: GAD | October 04, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Holy spit, I'll take the over on that one. Of course that would only be if I was a betting man, and I wasn't so felonious.

Just for the record...murphy was a 2 star qb....cant wait to see what this collins boy has in the tank. Wasnt he committed to ufelony? Isnt he the one with the mother that told him he wasnt going to ufelony?

No stupid, that was Brisset. He went anyway. Anything was better than the crap dump in da gables. Even if that meant UF. On with your life I say. Let's check back in the morning and see how many 21 posts, 16 mounts has to respond. I bet U...you guessed it, 21 times.

We'd be playing the waterboy too if we were playing a bunch of high school teams that were 60 pt underdogs! It really is hilarious that you continue talking about the Gators opponents, all the while playing teams that are much worse. You truly are a hypocritical idiot!

you turds couldn't score 60 in 3 games let alone in 1 game LOSER

7 out 8

How u like that TURDS

nothing like smacking our little brother around...up next is Free Shoes University.

I'm gonna run on you like water flowing downhill

My arm's already sore thinking about the 600 yds I'm going to put up on that MOF defense.

Sure am glad I chose that armpit in Fayetteville over that bung hole MOF.

true dat...seeing how the turds dodge the U every chance they get, coming to Fayetteville is the ONLY way i can play them.

I live for the Gators...just like the canes do.

Keep talking about how every team we face is going to destroy us, because it's backfiring every time. By the way, good job barely beating an unranked team. Just goes to show what's going to happen when you face a decent team. Can't wait to watch jameis winston throw for 600 yards against your sad excuse of a defense!

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