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have two 1,000 yard backs?

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Written by Nick de la Torre, August 27, 2014, 10 Comments,
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There was never a question in Kelvin Taylor’s mind where he would play his college football. In fact, the decision was made far before Taylor even started playing football.

His father, Gator Great Fred Taylor, had an All-American career in Gainesville and even though Kelvin played the recruiting game for a while, he always knew where he would go to school.

“I love the Gator Nation,” Taylor said. “I’m a Gator for life. I’m just so excited I got a chance to come here.”

For Matt Jones, his future wasn’t as cut and paste as Taylor’s. Jones had offers from schools all over the SEC and around the country but pulled the trigger early and committed to Florida before his senior season. He didn’t have a Gator legend for a father, but he did have a similar message as the one Taylor spoke today back in 2011 when he committed.

I’m a Gator for life,” he said

Jones came on late in his freshman season — he ran for 183 of his 275 yards in the final five games of the season. Jones stepped up into the starting role heading into his sophomore season, as Taylor enrolled early as a freshman. Despite competition on the field, the two formed a bond and have become close off the field as well.

It created an interesting dynamic. Jones missed the first game as he battled back from an intestinal issue that caused him to miss fall camp. That opened the door for Mack Brown — who led the team in rushing against Toledo — and Taylor, who carried the ball five times for 43 yards late in the opener.

However, Jones returned and Taylor’s carries disappeared. Taylor only got one carry over the next month, while Jones got 75. Then, if having a health scare that hospitalized Jones for more than a week in the offseason wasn’t enough, his season ended in Baton Rouge on just his fourth carry of the afternoon. Jones felt sorry for himself at first but can you blame him for those feelings? He didn’t let them linger, instead took the ordeal as a learning experience, an opportunity to better himself mentally while time healed his body.

“[I learned] just that the game could be taken away from you at any point in time,” he said. “So definitely with school, finish with school with a degree because football could be gone. And just being out there with my boys, just taking advantage of that, laughing with them and stuff like that.”

Taylor benefitted from Jones’ absence. The then freshmen led the team in carries from the LSU game on and Taylor gave Florida glimpses of his father and what his future could be in orange and blue.

But he missed having his friend on the field with him.

Taylor and Jones’ bond on and off the field is real, despite competition for carries and reps. The two spend time together away from the field and on the field they take time to coach each other up.

“We’re just very excited to see each other get back out there on the field together and just have a great year together,” he said. “Cheer each other on and that’s what we’re going to do with all of our backs.”

Taylor and Jones even have a goal this season. Both players want to rush for 1,000 yards. That would mean both players would have to average 83 yards a game (not including potential postseason games). It’s a challenge both players have given to the other.

“I mean, this year we could be a 1,000-yard, both of us could go for 1,000 yards,” Taylor said. “We just gotta keep working hard and I feel like me and Matt can do that, yes.”

Both Jones and Taylor feel like the new offense will benefit them and they’re excited to unleash the offense on Saturday.

The whole team is excited to get back on the field. They buried the 2013 game tape — literally buried it — but for players like Jones and Jeff Driskel who missed significant time last season, there is a different hunger to get back on the field. Jones feels it every morning on his way to class.

“I’m anxious to get back out there Saturday. Even when I walk past to morning class I look at the field. I can’t wait until the stands are filled up and stuff and ready to go.”

Follow the 2014 Florida Gators football season. Join Gator Country.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. millio21August 27, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Nothing from Snowprint ? or is it too early?

    • Nick de la Torre
      Nick de la TorreAugust 27, 2014, 8:47 pm

      You just got here sooner than he did.

  2. snowprintAugust 27, 2014, 8:34 pm

    I just think it’s amazing how a team that went 4-8 now is going to have a possible Heisman contender in Driskel and two 1000 yard backs, great receivers, etc. The problem is that none of these grandiose visions is based on anything that actually happened on a college playing field. The new coaches don’t play, you still have the same players and Roper is not a miracle worker. Why don’t we wait until UF actually beats a good team, something that won’t have happened for 665 days when the Gators get their first opportunity to do so. No wonder when both Spurrier and Meyer left Florida they hinted that one reason was because the fans have unrealistic expectations. Now we have one that thinks UF can have not one, but two 1,000 yard rushers when neither has even come close to doing so? I guess it’s in the water in Gainesville. I was struck by the contrast between how the Florida coaches and players acted at the SEC media days in contrast to Alabama. UF was very cocky, so much so that one player made the ludicrous statement that Jeff Driskel was the best quarterback in the country. Alabama was subdued and humble. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the past season records were reversed. I was amazed.
    As for taylor and Jones coming to Florida. Was there ever any doubt? Taylor is a legacy and Jones comes from a school that is basically a feeder school to UF. IF Byron Cowart, from the same school, chooses anyone other that UF, it would mean that UF is in serious trouble and could be heading for the same run of mediocrity as Tennessee after Fulmer was fired. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but if you don’t think it’s possible, you are mistaken.

    • Nick de la Torre
    • thecrusherAugust 28, 2014, 12:39 am

      Here’s the gist of snowprints comments: the gators suck, the glass is completely empty, the end is nigh, and whatever you just wrote in your article, you’re wrong.

    • ctreshAugust 28, 2014, 8:20 am

      I’m not really sure why you’re hating on Nick right now? He’s reporting what Taylor and Jones want to do this year. Their goal is to rush for 1,000 yards each, that’s not Nick’s goal. And I’m glad that’s their goal. What would you rather them say? Oh we just wana be mediocre like Snowprint always says we are and only rush for 500 yards. We don’t wana try and do something too difficult that would be crazy. Let’s just aim low so we always reach our goals and never get better.

    • GI-GatorAugust 28, 2014, 9:03 am

      Players have to set goals and they should say their QB is the best. Both of those statements are possible. Having two RB’s exceed 1K yards is very possible. Driskel could end the year as the best QB. He hasn’t been able to maximize his skills in an offense that gives him a chance to do so, until now. This is the first season he has had a real QB coach, as well. Jeff is much more talented than the QB’s Roper had at Duke and look at what they accomplished last year. Roper has had some successful RB’s; yet, he has never had the talent that he has to work with now.

      As for the players acting “cocky”, that’s a matter of interpretation. When one sees negativity in everything it’s expected that everything the players say will be interpreted as negative. Bamer should be humble. They fell a long ways when they lost their last two games. Oklahoma beat the brakes off of them in the bowl game and Auburn exposed Saban’s true weakness. If you don’t believe Saban had his hands around his players’ throats, when they spoke to the media, you are fooling yourself. Saban controls every word that they say.

  3. theghostAugust 27, 2014, 10:01 pm

    Agree w/ Snowprint (unfortunately). TWO thousand yard backs? Let’s go for ONE! Heck, I imagine we are more likely to have three 600+ yard backs than two 1000.

  4. tufrthnailsAugust 27, 2014, 10:22 pm

    Love the optimism from the backs. But I think they are in for a rude awakening when they realize they need the O-line to open running lanes and block for them. That being said if the passing game can become a stable and reliable contributor then the running game could truly explode for them.

  5. snowprintAugust 28, 2014, 11:47 am

    I get the feeling everyone will be happy if I’m wrong. Guess what, I’ll be happy too. All I can go on is what I’ve seen on the playing field in areal game. The coaches, players, and fans can talk all they want, it doesn’t take away the fact that, currently, UF is a bad team that isn’t as talented as many believe. I think an example of that is the mantra that Driskel is more talented that the quarterbacks Roper worked with at Duke. What is that based on? He has done nothing in college to make that claim. that’s a fact. You can make all the excuses you want, it doesn’t matter if they’re valid or not, the fact remains that Driskel has not been a good quarterback. I don’t care about how any “stars” a guy has coming out of high school. The only thing that means is that you’ll get more opportunities to prove yourself than a lower rated guy, kind of the same thing happens in the NFL with a high draft choice.
    Driskel , in my opinion, is the same kind of player that Blaine Gabbart is in the NFL. Gabbart was an early first round pick, similar to having 5 stars, that looked good in practice and was given every opportunity to succeed in the NFL. But when the lights came on, he sucked. In the NFL, you don’t have any cupcakes like the Gators play in their first three games, you get exposed immediately if you can’t play. I think Driskel will be exposed September 20, let’s hope I’m wrong.

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There was never a question in Kelvin Taylor’s mind where he would play his college football. In fact, the decision was made far before Taylor even started playing football.

His father, Gator Great Fred Taylor, had an All-American career in Gainesville and even though Kelvin played the recruiting game for a while, he always knew where he would go to school.

“I love the Gator Nation,” Taylor said. “I’m a Gator for life. I’m just so excited I got a chance to come here.”

For Matt Jones, his future wasn’t as cut and paste as Taylor’s. Jones had offers from schools all over the SEC and around the country but pulled the trigger early and committed to Florida before his senior season. He didn’t have a Gator legend for a father, but he did have a similar message as the one Taylor spoke today back in 2011 when he committed.

I’m a Gator for life,” he said

Jones came on late in his freshman season — he ran for 183 of his 275 yards in the final five games of the season. Jones stepped up into the starting role heading into his sophomore season, as Taylor enrolled early as a freshman. Despite competition on the field, the two formed a bond and have become close off the field as well.

It created an interesting dynamic. Jones missed the first game as he battled back from an intestinal issue that caused him to miss fall camp. That opened the door for Mack Brown — who led the team in rushing against Toledo — and Taylor, who carried the ball five times for 43 yards late in the opener.

However, Jones returned and Taylor’s carries disappeared. Taylor only got one carry over the next month, while Jones got 75. Then, if having a health scare that hospitalized Jones for more than a week in the offseason wasn’t enough, his season ended in Baton Rouge on just his fourth carry of the afternoon. Jones felt sorry for himself at first but can you blame him for those feelings? He didn’t let them linger, instead took the ordeal as a learning experience, an opportunity to better himself mentally while time healed his body.

“[I learned] just that the game could be taken away from you at any point in time,” he said. “So definitely with school, finish with school with a degree because football could be gone. And just being out there with my boys, just taking advantage of that, laughing with them and stuff like that.”

Taylor benefitted from Jones’ absence. The then freshmen led the team in carries from the LSU game on and Taylor gave Florida glimpses of his father and what his future could be in orange and blue.

But he missed having his friend on the field with him.

Taylor and Jones’ bond on and off the field is real, despite competition for carries and reps. The two spend time together away from the field and on the field they take time to coach each other up.

“We’re just very excited to see each other get back out there on the field together and just have a great year together,” he said. “Cheer each other on and that’s what we’re going to do with all of our backs.”

Taylor and Jones even have a goal this season. Both players want to rush for 1,000 yards. That would mean both players would have to average 83 yards a game (not including potential postseason games). It’s a challenge both players have given to the other.

“I mean, this year we could be a 1,000-yard, both of us could go for 1,000 yards,” Taylor said. “We just gotta keep working hard and I feel like me and Matt can do that, yes.”

Both Jones and Taylor feel like the new offense will benefit them and they’re excited to unleash the offense on Saturday.

The whole team is excited to get back on the field. They buried the 2013 game tape — literally buried it — but for players like Jones and Jeff Driskel who missed significant time last season, there is a different hunger to get back on the field. Jones feels it every morning on his way to class.

“I’m anxious to get back out there Saturday. Even when I walk past to morning class I look at the field. I can’t wait until the stands are filled up and stuff and ready to go.”

Follow the 2014 Florida Gators football season. Join Gator Country.

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