Taylor loves his role in new offense

One of the few bright spots in Florida’s otherwise abysmal 4-8 season last year was the emergence of true freshman running back Kelvin Taylor. Taylor took over as the starter in the Georgia game and never looked back, finishing the year with over 500 yards rushing and leading the team with four rushing touchdowns.

With a year of experience under his belt and a new spread offense that better fits his playing style, Taylor is primed for a breakout season. Son of former Gator and NFL running back Fred Taylor, Kelvin says his dad offered him some advice as he enters his first full season as the starter.

“He just told me to continue to work hard, be a coachable guy, and trust me eyes. He’s always telling me to trust me eyes and play fast,” said Taylor.

Playing fast seems to be the new mantra for Florida’s offense this year. New offensive coordinator Kurt Rope has brought excitement back into the Gators locker room while installing his no-huddle spread attack.

“I’m extremely excited about the new offense and the fast-paced tempo,” said Taylor. “It gets us out in space to make some big time plays. There’s going to be a lot of explosive runs this year.”

Roper has stated that he wants to run a new play “every 10-22 seconds” after the previous play is called dead, a drastic change from the slow-paced, possession-focused offense in Muschamp’s first three seasons as head coach. Taylor says it’s the simplicity of Roper’s offense that allows the team to be able to send in new plays in such a short time frame.

“Coach Kurt’s offense is very easy to learn and pick up, it helps you play faster. You really don’t have to think too much, you just go out there and play,” said Taylor.

Taylor says he believes Florida’s ability to play at such a fast pace will enable the Gators to wear down defenses in the fourth quarter.

“This offseason we really worked hard to get in great shape… running a lot, conditioning a lot, just getting ready to play fast. The defense is going to be tired and we’re just gonna keep gashing guys. It’s going to be really fun to go out there and play in this type of offense,” said Taylor.

It’s not just the pace of the offense that excites Taylor, it’s also the style of play it encourages as well. In spreading the field out with more three and four wide receiver sets, Florida’s playmakers will now have the opportunity to make more plays out on the perimeter.

“Playing in space is what we love to do,” said Taylor. “Getting 1-on-1’s with linebackers, I really don’t think there are too many guys out there that can tackle all of us in space.”

While the offense as a whole looks to install the new scheme during camp, Taylor says he’ll be working on two specific aspects of his game during the next few weeks in an effort to become a more well-rounded player.

“I’m really trying to develop my pass blocking’” said Taylor. “That’s something I’ve been working on all offseason, that and catching the ball out of the backfield. I’m just trying to be a complete running back.”

If he’s able to put it all together like he hopes, Kelvin Taylor could be a national household name by season’s end.

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