Fred Taylor says son Kelvin is ready


Florida Gators running back Kelvin Taylor (21) runs up field against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Tiger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 in Baton Rouge, La. LSU defeated Florida 17-6.

(Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)
Published: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 10:08 p.m.

Prior to the LSU game, Florida running back Kelvin Taylor had only touched the ball once since the season opener.

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Florida Gators running back Kelvin Taylor (21) runs up field against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Tiger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 in Baton Rouge, La. LSU defeated Florida 17-6.

(Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

For a five-star freshman who brought heavy expectations with him to Gainesville, the growing pains had been difficult to deal with, according to his father, former UF and NFL running back Fred Taylor.

“It's tough to be the man in high school and get highly recruited,” he said. “Then you get to college and bang — you're humbled all over again.”

After the Arkansas game, Taylor advised his son to continue preparing himself and being patient, using an example from his high school career.

“I told him to go back to his first year of varsity,” he said. “You were competing for playing time, but they had an older guy and you had to wait. Unfortunately the player had a knee injury, and Kelvin took advantage of his opportunity.”

Lo and behold, a similar situation presented itself in Baton Rouge. Starting running back Matt Jones tore his meniscus in the first half.

Florida coach Will Muschamp planned to play Taylor against LSU because he had his best week of practice, but “obviously the injury accelerated that.”

Taylor ran 10 times for 52 yards (long of 14) and gave the Gators life on offense.

“He made some good vertical cuts and did a good job in space and ran tough,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “I think he showed us something. And he actually gave us a little spark in running the ball there for a while.

“Leading up to this point and not having so many turns, he never complained about it. He just continued to work, tried to find some consistency and said, 'When my opportunity comes, I'm gonna do it.' Now it's there. I'm happy for him, and I think he'll just continue to get better and better.”

Taylor talked to his son after the game and could hear the exuberance in his voice.

“He was excited to relieve a little pressure,” Taylor said. “He was like, 'Wow, I finally got a chance to play.' I told him, 'Yeah, but that feeling has to disappear because you lost.'

“He's kept his chin up through his early struggles, and now I think Kelvin's ready. This doesn't mean he's just going to take over the universe, but I really want him to seize the moment.”

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