Florida vs. Georgia: Kelvin Taylor "probably" starting for Gators at running back

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Florida's in need of a big-play threat on offense, and Kelvin Taylor at running back would be something that might qualify.

Since he played well at LSU and Missouri in dispiriting losses — or perhaps since he committed to Florida, or was born to Gators great Fred Taylor — Kelvin Taylor has been the cause célèbre among Florida fans eager to see the younger Taylor get more touches. Against Georgia, those fans are probably going to get their wish.

The key word there is "probably."

During his weekly press conference on Monday, Will Muschamp told reporters that Taylor would "probably" be Florida's starter, answering a direct question about whether Taylor would start with this exact verbiage.

We're working through the week, that's probably what we'll end up doing.

This is not quite "Kelvin Taylor will start," and I don't think it is solid enough to justify reporting that Taylor will start, but it's obviously a strong indication that Florida's probably going to have Taylor at running back on the first play against Georgia.

Here's the thing: Which running back starts matters far less than which running back gets the majority of the carries in Florida's offense.

Muschamp's said repeatedly this year that Florida's favored running backs with the "hot hand" during games, and those backs have gotten more carries in games because of it — think of Mack Brown against Tennessee (24 carries despite not starting), Matt Jones at Kentucky (28 carries), Taylor against Missouri (12 carries despite not starting). Taylor is now perceived as Florida's best running back, just like Jones was when he returned to the lineup against Miami, but Jones got his carries eaten into by Brown repeatedly in a hunt for a spark; Brown has had his carries eaten into by Taylor over the last two games. And even if Taylor starts, there's no guarantee that Brown won't eat into his carries.

What Taylor starting would probably do on the field is better position him to get at least 15-20 carries against Georgia, and Taylor's production to this point (6.1 yards per carry, best among Florida players with more than 10 carries in 2013) suggests that at least 15 carries for him would be a good idea. (Off the field, Taylor starting would make some fans frustrated with Florida's offense a little happier — and vindicate many brilliant souls who would take Taylor starting as proof that Florida's coaches have no idea what they are doing.)

Taylor starting also makes Florida far more likely to make a big play happen on the ground. Florida is tied for 90th nationally in runs of 20 or more yards, with seven. (Just four of those runs have come since Florida's opener against Toledo) Taylor, with just 28 carries on the year, has two of them.


Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.

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