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Might RB Taylor Be The Star Skill Player Florida’s Been Longing For

NCAA Football: Florida-Spring PracticeReaders of this site know that we’ve been pointing to Florida’s lack of skill players since Tim Tebow left Gainesville.  It’s become a trendy topic this year, but we’ve been pointing to it in semi-defense of guys like John Brantley, Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy.  The problem isn’t new.  The Gators haven’t had dependable, scary, every-down playmakers on offense in several seasons.

Ah, but might they have finally found their man?  Someone to take some of the heat off of their quarterback?

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease seems to think freshman running back Kelvin Taylor has the potential to be that guy:


“Kelvin has improved tremendously.  I’m not sure how you guys view it, but I’m excited about Kelvin.  I think he’s really come on with the game experience.  When you go back and look at the film, there’s still spots you say, ‘Here’s what you need to do, here what you need to understand more.’  But in the same sense, he’s getting all these things.

And he’ll get better and better.  I want to see him in his third or fourth year.  He’s going to probably be outstanding.”


You can bet Pease would like to see him in his third or fourth year.  Most feel that Pease will be pushed overboard by Muschamp this offseason.

Taylor’s workload has increased as the season has worn on, culminating in a 96-yard effort last week at South Carolina (when everyone in Williams-Brice Stadium knew Florida had decided to run, run, run and run some more).


  Opponent   Attempts   Yards   Avg/Att   TDs
  Toledo   5   43   8.60   0
  Miami (FL)   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  Tennessee   1   3   3.00   0
  Kentucky   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  Arkansas   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  LSU   10   52   5.20   0
  Missouri   12   74   6.17   1
  Georgia   20   76   3.80   0
  Vanderbilt   14   47   3.36   1
  S. Carolina   21   96   4.57   4


Look, Taylor’s numbers don’t exactly put him in the Heisman race.  But considering the fact opposing defenses know that Florida will run the vast majority of the time, Taylor’s play over the last four games has been a positive development.

In a season with very few positive developments in Gainesville.

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SEC Headlines 12/26/2011

1. SEC 2012 football schedule expected to be released today.

2. Alabama – LSU II is two weeks from tonight. LSU will go 37 days between games – 44 days for Alabama.

3. “There will be a lot more purple and gold and a lot less crimson in the stands than there was the last time.”

4. Meet Alabama first-year offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.  ”(W)ithout question, he has head coach written all over him.”

5. Auburn is a three-point favorite as game-week practice gets underway.

6. Mississippi State arrives in Nashville today with bowl week practice starting this afternoon.

7. After two years under center, just how good is Florida quarterback John Brantley?

8. Gator offensive lineman Matt Patchan carries on a family tradition – his dad was a lineman at the University of Miami.

9. Doesn’t sound like Ohio State fans have much enthusiasm for traveling to Florida and playing the Gators.

10. Top priority for the Georgia Bulldogs?  Fixing the special teams.

11. Does Derek Dooley need to start selling Tennessee football to the fan base?

12. Both Dooley and former Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton make this writer’s list of Christmas returns.

13. Tennessee has received input from Arkansas on merging separate male and female athletic programs.

14. The future of the Arkansas – Texas A&M neutral site game at Cowboys Stadium could be in jeopardy.

15. Coach James Franklin and intense workouts have Vanderbilt in a bowl game for only the fifth time in school history.

16. Vandy linebacker Chris Marve will finish his college career in front of a hometown crowd.

17. Nebraska alumni have spread their wings in Gamecocks country.

18. UTEP 83 – Auburn 76.  Coach Tony Barbee loses to his former team.

19. Ole Miss looks to rebound at Dayton this week after a disappointing double-digit loss to Middle Tennessee State.

20. John Calipari spent a lot of time this past week checking out high school recruits.

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Happy Thanksgiving Headlines, 2011

Before we rush to meet family and gobble down some turkey, we want to catch you up on some headlines from across the league.

But before we start the headlines, we want to extend our thanks to you for reading and supporting  Your loyalty is very much appreciated.

May all of you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


1.  The NCAA’s scholarship reforms could change the way schools recruit.

2.  Alabama’s Trent Richardson has done well on the road this year… and a trip to Auburn is up next.

3.  Auburn is getting healthier as the Iron Bowl nears.

4.  Prepping for #1 LSU and reeling from the death of teammate Garrett Uekman, Bobby Petrino has kept his team away from the media this week.

5.  Tomorrow’s game will be one of the most important in Razorback history.

6.  LSU is in position to “bail out the BCS.”

7.  MSU’s Chad Bumphis is fired up for the Egg Bowl.

8.  The Ole Miss defense has been run ragged this season.

9.  John Brantley’s ankle has healed to the point that he’ll now be able to go under center when Florida faces Florida State.

10.  Auburn, Florida and Georgia Tech… with a win against the Yellow Jackets, Georgia can sweep its oldest rivals.

11.  There’s no official word on whether or not Isaiah Crowell will play Saturday.

12.  Kentucky’s quarterbacks aren’t 100% healthy with Tennessee up next.

13.  We were asked last night on Lexington radio about recent rumors that Joker Phillips won’t be back next year.  We don’t believe there’s anything to them… just like the Mark Richt resignation rumors from earlier this week.  These guys aren’t buying the Phillips talk, either.

14.  Should the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry move to Thanksgiving?

15.  Tennessee will look to correct red zone errors against Kentucky on Saturday.

16.  Depending on who’s eligible, Vanderbilt (or Mississippi State or Tennessee) could land in the Music City Bowl.





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Muschamp A Fan Of The Pistol

This past week, Florida rolled out a new offensive weapon – the Pistol formation.  In it, a quarterback lines up four yards behind the center and the tailback lines up directly behind the quarterback.  In the Shotgun, the quarterback is seven yards behind the center and the tailback lines up beside him.

So what does Will Muschamp think of Charlie Weis’ latest move?

“It gives you a downhill running game.  You can get out of the lateral run game.  You can run the off-tackle power and the leads inside as opposed to sitting east and west.  It’s a downhill north and south.  We’re a different offense when we’re about to run the play-actions off of that.

We were unable to get to it against Georgia (because of John Brantley’s ankle injury).  It helps us in protection with our offensive line.  When you’re able to do those things it gets the defense off kilter a little bit.  That’s where it’s been good for us.”

Here’s a look at how one offense used the Pistol:

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SEC Headlines – 11/7/11 Part Two

1.  The SEC has handed out its Players of the Week.

2.  The league still has three teams in the Top 10 of the BCS standings — LSU (#1), Alabama (#3), and Arkansas (#8).

3.  Despite suffering an arm injury late in Florida’s game against Vanderbilt, John Brantley will be ready to go against Carolina on Saturday.

4.  Charlie Weis pulled out the Pistol formation last weekend and it helped the Gators create an inside running game.

5.  If Georgia beats Auburn and USC loses to Florida this weekend, the East race will go to the Dawgs.

6.  Did you see UGA tight end Aron White get stuck in the Sanford Stadium hedges on Saturday?

7.  AD Greg McGarity says there will be no nine-game schedule in the SEC.   (Give it time.  It’s the only scenario that will work.)

8.  Even after freshman Max Smith’s record-setting debut as Kentucky’s quarterback, Joker Phillips says his offense is “far from fixed.”

9.  John Calipari wants Anthony Davis and the rest of his Wildcats to toughen up.

10.  Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw — concussed on Saturday night — might not be able to play against Florida this weekend.

11.  The Cocks will try to beat Florida at noon ET and then they’ll do some television viewing as Georgia meets Auburn.

12.  Quarterback Justin Worley gave Tennessee a lift… against MTSU.

13.  The Vol defense has started forcing turnovers, but it needs to force a few more.

14.  Vanderbilt’s loss to Florida dropped them under .500 for the first time this season and they remain winless on the road at 0-3.

15.  Outside gunner John Jenkins wants to improve his defense for the Dores’ basketball team.

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Weis Disappointed In UF’s Offense; Danielson Says Muschamp’s Got Little Talent To Work With

Mired in a four-game losing streak — the program’s longest since 1988 — folks in Florida are wondering who to blame.  On Halloween, Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel — a provocateur on par with Woody Woodpecker — asked Gator fans to blame Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp or Charlie Weis for UF’s many offensive woes.  (The fans who voted saddled the ex-Gator head coach with the blame.)

In Weis’ case, the offensive coordinator was realistic about his team’s chances against Alabama and LSU… it’s the last two games against Auburn and Georgia that have bothered him most:

“I thought the rest of that Alabama game (without an injured John Brantley in the second half) was going to be a bit of a struggle.  And going into LSU I thought that would be a bit of a struggle, especially when young Jacoby (Brissett) was dialed up after he hadn’t had a snap, I thought that would have been a bit of a struggle. … I’m probably most disappointed that in the last two weeks, we didn’t make enough plays on offense to win the last two games.

I think that’s probably my biggest disappointment.  They were two games that you can’t say were mismatched opponents.  That’s the thing I’m discouraged about the most.”

Should he be disappointed?  It doesn’t sound like Gary Danielson believes so.  The CBS analyst just doesn’t think the Florida’s staff or its head coach has a whole heckuva lot of talent at their disposal:

“I believe Will Muschamp is doing about as good as he can.  To me, I really think Will Muschamp has a butter knife, basically a dull butter knife of talent in a league that everybody else has steak and you need a steak knife to win in this league.  He has no chance.  He does not have a team put together to compete at the highest level at this league, especially with an injured quarterback.”

Somewhere, Meyer is muttering, “But they’re loaded, I tells ya.” 

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SEC Game Projections For 10/29/11

Yesterday’s expansion/realignment news and two-and-a-half hours of radio shows bogged down the schedule of your truly.  Our usual Friday Game Projections became a casualty.

But we are posting them this morning, prior to kickoffs across the league.  This week’s installment will be of the one-line variety however.  Below are the lines, the times (Eastern), the TV listings and the projections:

Arkansas at Vanderbilt
12:21pm on SEC Network

Why It Matters:  Because Arkansas still has a shot at a second-straight BCS bowl game.

What Vegas Says:  Arkansas by 9 (opened at -10.5)

What We Say:  To pull an upset this big James Franklin’s squad will need a lot of Arkansas turnovers.

Prediction:  Arkansas 31, Vanderbilt 13

Florida at Georgia
3:30pm on CBS

Why It Matters:  It will be very difficult for Mark Richt to keep his job if the Dawgs lose.

What Vegas Says:  Georgia by 3 (opened at -3)

What We Say:  This one could be all about personnel as John Brantley is expected to play for the Gators and Malcolm Mitchell is expected to be out for the Bulldogs.

Prediction:  Florida 24, Georgia 21

Ole Miss at Auburn
7:00pm on ESPNU

Why It Matters:  If Gus Malzahn can get his offense fixed down the stretch, he could be on the short list to replace Houston Nutt (who will have a hard time surviving after losing 10 SEC games in a row).

What Vegas Says:  Auburn by 13 (opened at -10.5)

What We Say:  Auburn is 4th in the SEC in rushing (183 yards per game) while Ole Miss is deal last in rushing defense (222 yards allowed per game).

Prediction:  Auburn 35, Ole Miss 20

Mississippi State at Kentucky
7:00pm on FSN

Why It Matters:  The winner can keep hope alive for a late-season turnaround and bowl bid.

What Vegas Says:  MSU by 10 (opened at -10)

What We Say:  MSU has a better offense, a better defense, and it’s +5 in turnover margin while UK is -6.

Prediction:  Mississippi State 21, Kentucky 14

South Carolina at Tennessee
7:15pm on ESPN2

Why It Matters:  Carolina still leads the SEC East and Tennessee is still fighting for a bowl bid.

What Vegas Says:  South Carolina by 3.5 (opened at -5)

What We Say:  An offensive showcase featuring Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore versus Tyler Bray and Justin Hunter… wait… what… oh.

Prediction:  South Carolina 23, Tennessee 13

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UF’s Brantley To Play Unless Somthing “Shocking” Happens

Gamesmanship or just a new, more open policy regarding injuries from Florida coach Will Muschamp?  We won’t really know until Saturday, but the Gators’ coach shed more light on quarterback John Brantley’s health during today’s SEC teleconference:

“John Brantley has continued to progress pretty well through the week.  I expect him, obviously, to play Saturday unless something shocking comes up here in the latter part of the week…

He’s throwing it well.  We’ll progress through today and Thursday and the walk-through on Friday and see how he continues to improve.”

Brantley has missed two consecutive games after suffering a high ankle sprain during UF’s Alabama contest on October 1st.

The Gators meet Georgia in a key SEC East battle Saturday in Jacksonville.  Muschamp said getting his starter back could provide a psychological lift for his team.

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SEC Headlines – 10/25/11 Part Two

1.  This writer thinks there might be something fishy about Will Muschamp’s announcement that quarterback John Brantley is probable for Saturday’s game.

2.  Florida’s coach says his whole team is healthier following last weekend’s bye.

3.  Georgia’s defense is thisclose to being at full strength.

4.  Mark Richt says Florida and UGA might have different records if you flipped their schedules.

5.  Kentucky and MSU will both be desperate for a win this weekend.

6.  Here’s more on those black Kentucky uniforms.

7.  South Carolina coaches are reminding Jadeveon Clowney that new Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley beat him in high school.

8.  Here’s a midseason report card on the Gamecocks.

9.  Tennessee continues to shuffle its secondary from game to game.

10.  Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings says the Vols are heading in the right direction.

11.  New Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers wants to rely on his arm, not his legs.

12.  James Franklin knows one area where his team has an advantage on Arkansas – turnover ratio.

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SEC Headlines – 10/24/11 Part One

1.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week.

2.  Florida should be a lot healthier as it prepares for it’s battle with Georgia.

3.  Will Muschamp expects John Brantley to practice today and to play on Saturday.

4.  Georgia will counter with the return of safety-turned-linebacker Alec Ogletree.

5.  For Mark Richt, ending a three-game losing streak to the Gators is of major importance.

6.  Another man’s down in Lexington — UK running back Raymond Sanders will likely miss the Cats’ game with Mississippi State due to a high ankle sprain.

7.  Kentucky fans stayed away from Saturday’s game with Jacksonville State in droves.  (Photo included.  Just brutal.)

8.  South Carolina and Georgia appear — for now — to be locked in a two-team race for the East Division title.

9.  Steve Spurrier now says he’ll speak with the media even if writer Ron Morris is present.  (This will lead many to say that his harangue against Morris was clearly meant to be a smokescreen for the Stephen Garcia dismissal, but it could be that school president Harris Pastides intervened.)

10.  A day after burning quarterback Justin Worley’s redshirt in a 31-point loss to Alabama, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley says he has no idea how he’ll use the freshman from here out.  (Dooley seems to have a little Spurrier in him when it comes to making emotional in-game decisions.)

11.  A check of the messageboards showed this writer Vol fans’ patience is wearing thin.

12.  Vanderbilt tallied 530 yards (344 on the ground) to beat Army and snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday.

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