Saturday, June 23, 2018
Colleges

Infection sidelines Gators' Jones

GAINESVILLE — Two weeks ago, Florida's Matt Jones was talking about the extraordinary work he put into his offseason conditioning and how much he looked forward to entering fall camp as the No. 1 running back.

Now the Armwood High graduate has an infection that could cause him to miss much of camp.

"Matt Jones has had a serious viral infection, and he's out indefinitely," coach Will Muschamp said Thursday. "He came down with this in the last four or five days, and right now we're filling him full of antibiotics. How his body responds will tell me how quickly he can come back. I probably won't know definitively until the end of next week."

Jones had 52 carries for 275 yards and three touchdowns as a backup to starter Mike Gillislee last season.

In his absence, Mack Brown, Trey Burton and Wesley Chapel's Hunter Joyer will see reps. Freshman Kelvin Taylor also will have an opportunity.

"We've recruited well at that position," Muschamp said.

Forget rankings: Florida is ranked No. 10 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll released Thursday, the spot in which it ended last season. The Gators are one of five SEC teams ranked among the Top 10 and six among the Top 25. They play four of those ranked teams: Georgia (No. 5), South Carolina (No. 7), Florida State (No. 12) and LSU (No. 13).

Florida's players said the poll is of little significance now.

"We didn't even really know about it," junior WR Quinton Dunbar said. "It only matters where you finish."

The Louisville pain: It has been eight months since Florida's 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. But for Joyer, it seems like yesterday.

Joyer still has to listen to his older brother, Kamran, a Louisville offensive lineman, talk about the game.

"He's still talking a little trash even now," Joyer said. "It's getting a little aggravating. It's a little too much. Even in the offseason, just a whole bunch of ridiculous stuff. Hopefully, we'll get another opportunity against them. And if we do, we have to capitalize."

Woodpecker fact: During Thursday's media day question-and-answer session, Muschamp was asked how well LB Ronald Powell might play coming off last season's torn left ACL.

Muschamp transitioned to a seminar he attended Wednesday in which a concussion expert explained that every individual is different, and thus, so is his recovery time. Except for the woodpecker.

"A woodpecker is never going to have a concussion," Muschamp said with a straight face, eliciting laughter from the audience. "I bet you didn't know that. That's a true story. They have an extra bone in their neck, and they never can have a concussion. You learn something new every day. You just learned something new."

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