Monday, June 25, 2018
Sports

Gators turn to freshman RB Kelvin Taylor

GAINESVILLE — Florida freshman RB Kelvin Taylor has just 16 carries in his short Gators career, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he's confident Taylor is ready to step into a new role.

Taylor will see increased playing time for the remainder of the season now that starting RB Matt Jones is out for the year with a torn meniscus. Jones had surgery on Monday.

Taylor got his most significant playing time Saturday after Jones went down, 10 carries for 52 yards. Pease was pleased with his performance.

"Kelvin did really well," Pease said. "He ran the ball hard. You see he made some good vertical cuts and did a good job in space and ran tough. He did well, even in protections. He did his job. So, I think it's good experience for him. I think he showed us something. And, you know, he really actually gave us a little spark in running the ball there for a while."

TRIAL BY FIRE: Missouri will be without starting QB James Franklin, who sprained his shoulder Saturday against Georgia. Freshman Maty Mauk will start against the Gators and Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said getting experience in the game last week was valuable. "He just got thrown into the fire pretty quickly there," Pinkel said. "I think he did a good job. He is a pretty poised guy. He is thoroughly excited about this opportunity at hand. He is surrounded by an experienced offensive line and receiving corps. He has a lot of good people around him that will step up their game, and that will help him out."

Antonya English, Times staff writer

USF: Punter rebounds

TAMPA — After punting a career-high nine times for 399 yards against UConn, USF redshirt sophomore Mattias Ciabatti is hungry for more.

Ciabatti, a former Hillsborough High standout, became an Internet sensation this season when video of his 2-yard shanked punt against Miami went viral. It was the No. 9 "Not Top 10" play on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Though he wasn't happy about it at the time, Ciabatti said Tuesday he has forgotten about the mistake.

"I know I have to punt a lot, but I do whatever that helps my team," Ciabatti said. "It makes me feel good that I'm doing my job. Specialists aren't the biggest part of the team. But when we can be, we love it."

Special teams coach Stu Holt praised Ciabatti's progress since that game.

"I turned my head when he hit the one against Miami, so I wasn't sure how bad it was," Holt said. "But then I saw it later and I was like, 'Wow, that's impressive for the wrong reasons.' But to his credit, he's a mature guy and he bounced back."

NO CHANGES: Coach Willie Taggart said there won't be a difference in how his team prepares for No. 8 Louisville during the bye week.

"They're a football team that puts on pads just like the rest of us," Taggart said. "We didn't put that ranking on them, someone else did that. We just have to show up to play at noon."

MEDICAL MATTERS: QB Steven Bench (knee), HB Marcus Shaw (leg) and DT Tevin Mims (leg) were not at practice. Taggart did not have an update on their conditions.

Jeff Odom, Times correspondent

UCF: Strong praise

Louisville coach Charlie Strong is expecting a challenge when UCF visits Friday night.

"We know this, our work's going to be cut out for us,'' he said. "Defensively, what they do is they don't beat themselves. They don't give up the big plays back in the secondary. (Blake) Bortles does a great job of directing the offense, Storm Johnson is an outstanding running back and they have receivers.

"The offensive line, it's a senior group. It's a senior-laden team on offense and defensively they're still young, but it's a good football team. A very good football team."

Orlando Sentinel

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