Pease notebook: Trusting Taylor

Brent Pease wasn't shy to admit it on Tuesday. The only reason Kelvin Taylor got an extended chance at running back was the injury to Matt Jones against LSU. With Jones out for the season after his knee injury, Taylor took advantage of the opportunity and is expected to earn his first career start on Saturday against Georgia.

Early in the season, the coaches didn't like what they saw from Kelvin Taylor on the practice field. He was struggling in pass protection and putting the ball on the ground too often. After the LSU game where Matt Jones was injured, Florida head coach Will Muschamp said the plan was to play Taylor in the game either way. The role was simply in question.

When Jones was hurt, the role was clearer. The Gators needed Taylor on the field and to contribute immediately. But Pease isn't sure if it would have happened if Jones didn't get injured.

"It's hard to say how much he would have improved without actually being on the field and having all those reps you can get because -- do you get the number of touches if Matt's there? I don't know," Brent Pease said.

On Tuesday, Pease credited Taylor's practice habits and said that he "plays in practice like it's the speed of the game." When it isn't his turn to take reps with the offense, Taylor is off to the side working with a staff member to improve his technique.

Once he got his chance, Taylor hasn't disappointed. The freshman running back is averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season. However, after scoring his touchdown against Missouri, the Florida coaches went away from him and let him touch the ball once in the fourth quarter.

"Looking back on it, when Kelvin came on, he kind of got in a flow. We were still using him," Pease said. "Sometimes he wasn't in there and he probably should have, because he got us going again. Once we got him downhill, and he had that one stretch of three or four runs, then he kind of hit it downhill and had a couple big plays, we geared into the runs that we wanted with him. Then, we probably should've stayed with him and probably fed him a little bit more."

MURPHY GETTING HEALTHY: Tyler Murphy didn't throw during the bye week because of a sore shoulder. He returned to practice and threw some on Monday, but the coaches still wanted to give him a rest. He will return fully on Tuesday.

"It's really been about two weeks where he hasn't (thrown in practice)," Pease said. "He's thrown about 30 balls up until yesterday. His accuracy was off a little bit and just kind of getting back into the rhythm and the timing of everything and still kind of having to zip."

Pease did admit that they'll change some of the play calls with his injury. The depth behind Murphy isn't pretty, and the coaches are going to do their best to keep him healthy.

"You try to protect him a little bit," Pease said. "You don't lay him out there to take shots and do things with him that makes him vulnerable. It takes certainly plays away, absolutely."

TAYLOR LIKELY TO REDSHIRT: Kent Taylor came to Gainesville as one of the top tight ends in the country, but he hasn't produced like it in his first two years on campus. Taylor ended his freshman season with a touchdown catch in the Sugar Bowl. This year, he looks like he's on schedule to redshirt.

"We had looked back on it and determined if he was ready or not, and he wasn't ready at the time," Pease said. "We said this was going to be more of a time where we were going to use him as a redshirt. You got to be able to block in that position and run routes. You've got to see that you can perform and your performance has got to show up."

Taylor is listed at 224 pounds on the Florida roster, and that weight is what keeps him from making an impact on the field. He's not big enough to serve as an attached tight end. Taylor could fill the role of the receiving tight end for Florida, but at this point in his career, he's not strong enough to make an impact in other areas.

"I don't know if his development is totally there," Pease said. "Not every kid's going to be an immediate guy. He's a kid that's got to maintain weight to play in that position. He can't be too light. You look at the good teams and the good players, they really start showing up their junior year. Some kids do it as sophomores. But junior year and senior year you hope they are still around here continuing to play and prepare themselves."

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