Pease notebook: Taylor will have his chance

The season-ending injury for Matt Jones moved the Florida coaching staff from discussing a possible redshirt for freshman Kelvin Taylor to preparing him for a big role the rest of the season. In limited carries, Taylor has proven ready for role. After Jones tore his meniscus on Saturday, Taylor took 10 carries for 52 yards. His running instincts are easy to see, but he still has room to improve.

The issues for the freshman come in pass protection. The entire Florida offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Tyler Murphy on Saturday, and the running backs didn't help that. Matt Jones was the most trusted running back in pass protection, and with his absence, the coaches have to figure out a way to get Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor to his level of production.

Taylor missed some key blocks on Saturday that could've helped produce big plays.

"I think he's still got to zero in because now there's going to be more asked of you every play," Brent Pease said. "When you're calling plays, you've still got to try to find balance. It just can't be all handoffs to him. There are some things he didn't do that he needed to do."

When Taylor did carry the ball on Saturday, he made multiple members of the LSU defense miss and broke multiple tackles. The Florida staff hasn't questioned his natural running ability. They just needed to see more knowledge of the pass protection and who to block.

The injury to Jones will force him on the field for more snaps, and Taylor proved capable of handling it. He was prepared to play against the Tigers after his best week of practice last week, but the Jones injury forced him on the field earlier than expected.

"Kelvin did really well," Pease said of his performance against LSU. "He ran the ball hard. You see he made some good vertical cuts and did a good job in space and ran tough. He did his job. So, I think it's good experience for him. I think he showed us something. He actually gave us a little spark in running the ball there for a while."

There's a difference in what Taylor will face now. On Saturday, most of his snaps came against an LSU defense that was more tired late in the game. He'll be in the game much earlier this week.

"I think he's definitely ready for it," Pease said. "I tell you, the kid is a physical runner. He puts it north and south. Just his speed, how he hit the holes, he made them miss, especially down in the red zone and got good positive yardage. That's where when we were in that position, we kind of kept going to him a little bit. When he got the ball, he was gaining five, six, seven (yards)."

FULWOOD GETTING MORE SNAPS: Demarcus Robinson stole the show and was the freshman expected to make a big impact on the passing game, but in recent weeks, it's Ahmad Fulwood that is getting more targets. He caught two passes for 19 yards, but his fourth-down conversion on a 15-yard catch late in the game was a big one.

The coaches trust him on the field now, and he will continue to earn more snaps for the Gators.

"He's playing a lot sometimes," Pease said. "He's out there and I see him playing faster. He obviously had a big catch and he had another one where he's trying to separate one-on-one, and Tyler dumped it down to him. He's starting to get in there and get the feel of the game and play to the speed of the game. He works hard in practice. He's starting to fit in, and his opportunities are coming."

MISSOURI FRONT PRESENTS A CHALLENGE: Florida gave up four sacks to LSU last weekend, and it now has to prepare for another challenging defensive front. On paper, the Missouri defense line is more disruptive than LSU. Missouri is second in the SEC with 17 sacks this season.

Kony Ealy and Michael Sam are providing plenty of pressure off the edge of the line, using their speed to get after opposing quarterbacks and change the game.

"They got two, if not three, guys that are NFL-type guys," Pease said. "They both play opposite sides at times, but they're speed guys, One thing that's amazing to me, and it still goes back to last year when we watched them is that they bat a lot of balls down."

The Tigers have forced a turnover in 36 games, and the disruption caused by the defensive line is a big part of that number.

"Those guys are very active up front and getting off blocks," Pease said. "They were awesome last year when they had (first-round pick Sheldon) Richardson, too. He's gone. They're more destructive than you think than just sacks. They got sacks. They bat balls down. They're running the field. They're very active."

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