Gainesville, FL---It's looking very likely the Gators will go into their season opener a week from Saturday without their starting tailback Matt Jones.
The sophomore, who came on strong at the end of last season and was expected to carry a big load for the Florida offense this fall, has been battling a viral infection, diagnosed just before fall practice began.
Jones has yet to practice at all this August, and in fact still has yet to be cleared to practice by his doctors. Florida head coach Will Muschamp says he's not certain when Jones will be able to begin working with the team, and when he might be able to play for real.
"He's got his weight back up, he's about 223." Mushcamp says. "When this happened he weighed about 226. So I'll know a little bit more as we move through the week. He's been jogging and moving around a little bit more which is good. He feels good. He's doing more and more every day from a workout standpoint. And that's all I know, we're playing it by ear."
So the depth chart looks like this, redshirt junior Mack Brown, who has just 167 career rushing yards, the likely starter. Behind him, a sophomore walk-on by the name of Mark Herndon, who's impressed the coaches in fall camp.
Muschamp says two heralded freshman Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane, have shown they have the kind of necessary skills, but both are struggling learning the system and both are fumbling too much at this point.
The Gators open at home against Toledo next Satuday.