GAINESVILLE — Senior starting RG Jon Halapio will miss at least the first two games of the season, and sophomore RB Matt Jones has been ruled out for the season opener against Toledo, Florida coach Will Muschamp said.
Both are big losses. Without Jones, the top returning rusher outside of QB Jeff Driskel is WR/RB Solomon Patton (143 yards).
Jones, a former Armwood High star, was stricken with a viral infection earlier this month and has not practiced. He is expected to have more blood work performed Monday.
"He will be out for Toledo," Muschamp said. "He's questionable from there on out, but he's doing very well."
Halapio, a St. Petersburg Catholic alumnus, has a torn chest muscle and has not practiced at all in fall camp. He has started 33 games in his career.
"Jon Halapio right now would project for Tennessee," Muschamp said. "Certainly being his senior year we don't want to push it with him."
Freshman DB Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) out of Wharton High and junior RB Hunter Joyer (hamstring) out of Tampa Catholic/Wesley Chapel are expected to return to practice Monday and play against Toledo.
TAMPA — One week before the season opener, the Bulls will gather at Raymond James Stadium this morning, going through all the new game-day details that come with a new coach.
"We're going to go through a game routine, pregame routine, to make sure on game day it's not the first time we're doing it," coach Willie Taggart said.
Taggart's itinerary will include a new tradition for players and fans: a ceremonial walk from the park to the stadium, flanked by fans, much like many college programs do. (Fans need not arrive for the practice run, but they should next week when the Bulls host McNeese State.)
"Hopefully everyone gets behind it to come and welcome our team," Taggart said. "It'd be a bad idea if no one shows up. So make sure everybody shows up, and let's make it great."
The Bulls will vote on game captains tonight, and Taggart said he might award scholarships to deserving walk-ons.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
UCF: RB not in stone
ORLANDO — The popular belief was that this season was Storm Johnson's chance to be the featured back.
While the Miami transfer remains the presumptive starter going into Thursday's opener against Akron, UCF coach George O'Leary stopped short when asked if he thought Johnson was ready to be the top back.
"I haven't said anything to the offense yet, but we're going to roll the running backs," O'Leary said. "I want to see these running backs, I want to see who is doing the things I like being done."
That means Johnson still has to fend off a challenge from sophomore Cedric Thompson, a 6-foot, 227-pound bruiser who fits more into O'Leary's style, and freshman Will Stanback.