Gators RB Matt Jones out for the season

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2013

Florida Gators sophomore running back Matt Jones was officially ruled out for the remainder of the 2013 season on Monday after tearing his meniscus early in the first half of his team’s 17-6 loss to the LSU Tigers on Saturday afternoon.

“Very disappointed that Matt Jones will be out for the season. He’s having surgery as we speak,” head coach Will Muschamp announced during his weekly press conference on Monday. “We thought it was a sprain in the knee. Turns out it was a torn meniscus. He definitely will be out.”

Muschamp said after Saturday’s game that trainers did not think the injury to Jones’s left knee was serious but would evaluate it further after returning to Gainesville, FL.

“Very unfortunate. I hate it for Matt,” he added. “He’s a great young man. And to go through what he’s been through this fall, missing most of fall camp, working his way back in shape, starting to feel good about himself as far as how he felt physically, mentally. And then to have this setback is just disheartening for all of us.”

Jones sat out nearly all of fall camp while recovering from a serious viral infection and missed the first game of the season against Toledo as a precaution.

He returned at Miami but struggled in his first action back, fumbling the ball and picking up just 47 yards on 18 carries.

Jones finally broke out three weeks later at Kentucky, taking a career-high 28 touches for a career-high 176 yards while scoring a touchdown for the second-straight week.

He totaled 339 yards and two touchdowns in just over four full games.

Redshirt junior Mack Brown will step in for Jones as Florida’s primary running back. As the starter against Toledo, Brown had a career game by rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 25 touches.

He is averaging 3.7 yards per carry in 2013.

Freshman Kelvin Taylor will also see his workload increase. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry this season and was second on the Gators with 52 yards on Saturday at LSU.

Jones is the fifth starter Florida has lost for the season joining junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green and redshirt senior kick returner Andre Debose on the mend.

A surgically-repaired torn meniscus usually requires at least two months of recovery before rehabilitation. The Gators did not provide a specific timetable for Jones but should have one after the surgery is completed.

16 Comments

  1. Daniel M. says:

    Okay.

    Dubose,Driskel, Easley, Jones.

    Mack Brown ain’t carrying the load all by himself. It’s about to get very ugly.

    That about does it.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Umm, I’m sorry but I gotta ask: have you even watched the Gators in the past few years?

      Debose hasn’t done anything since 2011, and Driskel went out after putting up a whopping 2 Touch Downs vs. 4 turn overs in 2 games.

      Easley and Jones does set us back, but I do wonder how “right” Jones really has been this year. One good game vs. Kentucky wasn’t enough to sway me.

      Taylor was our freaking top rusher on Saturday. With 10 carries. How much worse will our run game be going forward, realistically?

      • Michael Jones says:

        What team have YOU been watching, gatorboi? Like so many Gator fans, you too seem to underrate Debose. And, man, nobody gets down on a player and never lets him back up like we Gator fans do.

        Trust me, Debose is a stud and he was a huge loss. In the return game for starters. Debose is the career UF kick-return-for-TD record holder and was coming into his senior season tied for the most career kick returns for TD in the SEC with Willie Gault, Felix Jones, and Brandon Boykin (decent company, wouldn’t you say?). His career return average of 27.4 yards is a school record and ranks second in SEC history. He set a Florida single-season record by averaging 28.3 yards per return last season. Not to mention the fact that the coaches were unanimous in their belief that Debose was about to have a breakout season as a WR this year.

        So, yeah, Daniel M., you were definitely right to include Debose in our losses for this year. Driskel too. And let’s not forget Chaz Green. Another huge loss.

        I’ve been on Muschamp a little bit lately but, in all fairness to him, it has been a devastating year injury-wise. Even Halapio missed the Miami game.

        GOOD LUCK, MATT!! GET BETTER SOON, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY BOY!!!

        • gatorboi352 says:

          “Debose is the career UF kick-return-for-TD record holder and was coming into his senior season tied for the most career kick returns for TD in the SEC”

          How many of those did he have in 2012? Hell, what was his return average in 2012? Look I don’t doubt he may have come in this year and lit the world on fire, but the guy did next to nothing last year. Sure it’s a team game and those around him are not faultless. But his lack of work ethic over the years is no joke.

  2. gatorboi352 says:

    It will be interesting to see if Taylor provides the same spark to our run game that Murphy did for our QB situation. Gotta like the way Kelvin hits those holes.

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Also in regards to Taylor… “and led the Gators with 52 yards on Saturday at LSU.”

      Wow. Just…. wow.

      • He was actually second with 52. My fault.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Taylor is a gifted instinctive runner. The way he reads the blocking unfolding and anticipates the hole before it’s there and then accelerates through it reminds me of Emmitt. Has to learn the protection schemes, but, judging by the few times he’s been allowed to touch the ball this season, he’s our future.

        As far as blocking goes, I don’t see why we just don’t take him out on passing plays until he figures it out. It’s not like our formations or personnel groupings trick anybody anyway (see for example the S-L-O-W developing counter run from the 8-man unbalanced line formation that the defense knows better than we do).

  3. Spike says:

    Adam, any info on recovery time?

  4. G2 says:

    Does anyone feel cursed this year? It started in preseason (Jones & Driskel) and hasn’t stopped yet. Maybe some bad karma left over from evil Urban?

    On the bright side we did get to see KT finally (no brainer) and Murphy has been a bright spot for the offense (with some blocking). Don’t know how down we can get on the coaching staff when out top players are dropping like flies. Maybe now we can throw more than a 5 yard pass, lets air it out and play like we have nothing to lose. The dink and dunk, playing scared, whatever you want to call it was never going to get it done anyway!

    • Michael Jones says:

      Good point about the coaching staff, and good suggestion about letting it go and playing with reckless abandon.

  5. Crock says:

    Taylor please.

  6. aziatic41 says:

    This is actually not a huge loss. May actually be a good thing for UF. Matt Jones has not played well this year. He had one decent game against UK. Now this will give Kelvin Taylor more looks. Taylor looked real good against LSU. Also Mark Herndon is an explosive back who will get more looks.

  7. W says:

    Love what I saw from Kelvin Taylor Saturday. Great burst, and runs with more power than you’d expect. His vision could use some improvement, but he’s spent most of his life just straight outrunning people, so you’d expect that to lag a bit behind the rest of his skill set. Would be great to have a back who is really a stud in pass protection. Don’t think we have one on our roster. Anyways, I think Mack and Kelvin going forward will be a serviceable RB duo to give us 25-30 carries per game.

    Too bad about Jones. He’s been through a lot this year. Hope he can make a full recovery and join the stable of backs we’ll have next year.

    One thing I couldn’t help but notice- man, what a luxury it is for LSU to have a kid like Copeland. Huge, versatile, and for a fullback, great with the ball in his hands and catching out of the backfield. He’s a critical part of that offense.

  8. Spike says:

    Thanks for the timeline update, Adam.

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