Brown says backs need to step up

Florida starting running back Matt Jones went down at the end of the first offensive series Saturday and it was up to Mack Brown and freshman Kelvin Taylor to finish the game in a hostile environment and against a top 15 program. It was a tall order, but one the backs will have to deal with throughout the rest of the season.

The Gators have had their share of major injuries so far this season. At the half way point there have been seven season ending injuries since the start of fall camp. Starters at quarterback, right tackle, and now running back are counted among the wounded

"It hurts," Mack Brown told the media this week. "Losing Matt, really everybody we lost this year really hurt like losing [Andre] Debose, Chaz [Green], [Jeff] Driskel, it's been a hard season really."

"I've played ball for like 16-years and I've never seen anything like this before. But you know, you gotta step up and do our jobs, it's not over yet. Just gotta keep moving."

Mack is just trying take on his role on the club.

"You know, man down, man up," he said. "Just every day trying to get better, trying to be a playmaker, contribute to the offense so we can score more points."

He says that he doesn't expect to carry too much of the load.

"You know right now in practice we're rotating," Brown said. "We got about three or four backs right now, so whatever role they give me Saturday I'm going to do the best I can.

Kelvin Taylor is supposed to see a lot of playing time, but Brown acts as if it won't be limited to the freshman.

"Yeah, and also Mark Herndon, Adam Lane too," he said. "We have three or four backs that can run. And we got Valdez Showers who can run, too. So I feel we can run as a whole house really."

Taylor stepped up when called upon last week and performed well. He had 52 yards on 10 carries and led the Gators with a 5.2 yard average. Brown says it was just a matter of time before Taylor would get on the field regularly.

"It takes time really," the elder back said. "He's just a freshman. He has a lot of time. He's doing great, though."

Brown has persevered three full seasons of mop up duty or less on the roster. He opened his fourth year rushing for over 100 yards in the opener and understands that playing time isn't a birth rite. Brown says Taylor waited patiently, did what he needed to do, and now he will have his time.


"Everybody takes time to really get on the field early," Brown said. "He played early in the season and now he just played. He waited patiently, now it's time to give Kelvin Taylor the ball.

"He always came to practice working hard every day since camp."

Saturday there were a few miscues from the guys in the backfield that were costly in terms of the offense producing on the field. Quarterback Tyler Murphy was under more pressure than usual and a few times the backs missed blocking assignments that didn't help. Brown gave a couple of reasons for that.

"Miscommunication," he started. "You know, right now we just have to trust our eyes really. Just watch film and just be positive what we're (doing in) the game plan. Trust the game plan really.

"On pass plays you've just got to know the rotation of the field. If the safety rotates down you know the weak side, somebody is coming. You really have to watch a lot of film of what a team does. That's the main thing just communicate with the o-line and the quarterback, really."

"I don't think it's one issue. I just think we really have to play together, just be on one accord that's the main thing. We got the talent. We got great coaches. We just got to play it on the field, really."

"I don't think it's one issue. I just think we really have to play together, just be on one accord that's the main thing. We got the talent. We got great coaches. We just got to play it on the field, really."

After Saturday, Brown knows teams are going to start coming after Florida more than they have already this season and maybe more than those teams are used to doing it.

"Let it come. I expect it, if you watch last game. I expect them to blitz. Like I said, we can't look in the past. We need to look in the future, protect our quarterback. Keep Murphy healthy because Driskel down. We got to keep Tyler Murphy."

Brown says the offense understands what it is going to take to stop teams from blitzing as well.

"Be solid on our protections," he said. "When they do come, execute the play. Say they come on the blitz, executing the pass, maybe like a 10-yard pass or a 20-yard pass, then they'll stop blitzing. We've got to run the ball this game, got to run."

Those 10 and 20 yard plays were few and far between as well against LSU in the loss on Saturday. Florida needs more of those and Brown explains what has to happen.

"Everybody executes, everybody does their job and just know every time you touch the ball you want to score.

"We just have to come out and play together, really. Saturday we have to come out scoring. A lot of people are saying the offense isn't doing good. I feel like we're going to show people this week."

"We have to step our game up really. Got to play like the defense really, have more swag on the field. We got to start scoring, I know that. This whole week in practice we've been working hard, working real hard."


The offense is missing the swag, but according to brown it is a team thing and everyone is working together to get that next win.

"As a whole, like everybody has good positive attitudes," he said. "Muschamp talks to us every day. The quarterback, Murphy, he keeps everybody together. I say Murphy and the coaches and really the O-line. I say Jon Harrison also. True captain."

Harrison is a senior center and three year starter at the position. He is likely playing as well or better than anyone up front on offense and is certainly a team motivator.

"He just says stay together, think positive, come with a positive attitude, come to work, come to get better every day," brown said of Harrison.

And they will all have to work together on Saturday. Missouri is second in the conference in sacks already recording 17 on the year, nearly three a game. Brown has seen film of the Georgia game where they harassed senior quarterback Aaron Murray to two sacks, a forced fumble returned for a touchdown, and two interceptions on the day.

"It was tough game. Their top two backs were down, a lot of young players were playing that haven't played before. That could have been a reason, too. They're a physical team, Missouri, very physical.

"They're probably one of the top pass rushes in the country so you know we just have to trust the game plan, watch a lot of film, and protect the quarterback."

Fightin Gators Top Stories