Gators have their man (at tailback)

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No one has come out and made an official announcement yet, but based on what Will Muschamp and others have been saying this spring, true sophomore Matt Jones has emerged as the clear No. 1 tailback — and it’s probably not even close.

Jones came on strong at the end of last season and has the size/speed combination the Gators are looking for in their downhill running game. This is a guy who was not completely healthy coming out of high school, but his knee is now 100 percent and he’s flashing the skill that led Urban Meyer to offer him a scholarship when he was only a sophomore in high school.

Jones has a chance to be a big-time tailback in UF’s offense. He has a chance to match the 1,000-yard plus season Mike Gillislee put on the board last season if he stays healthy behind would should be a very sound offensive line.

As good as Jones has been this spring, he’s not ready to go along with the popular theme that’s he’s already won the starting job — which is probably a good thing.

“I don’t think I’m the guy now,” he said. “I still have a lot of work to do in the offseason. Filling Gilly’s shoes is a lot of pressure, though. Whoever wins the battle, it’s going to be hard to fill his shoes.

“(Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor) are talented backs. We’re all competing hard, we’re going hard in the film room. We go hard in everything.

“Right now, I’m working on my conditioning and stuff this offseason. I’ve got big shoes to fill. Coach talks about getting a lot of carries, but I’ve still got to stay humble and keep myself healthy and stuff like that. I’ve got a long way to go.”

Brown and Taylor may have a longer way to go to catch Jones, although both figure to get the ball in their hands numerous times this season.

Earlier this week, Muschamp was asked about the tailbacks behind Jones.

“Mack Brown has been really solid. He’s done some nice things. He has been solid in protection and has caught the ball well,” Muschamp said. “Kelvin Taylor has really nice, natural running instincts. He just has to learn what to do and where to go. And that’s not different than the other mid-year guys here right now.

“The tempo of practice, the speed of the practice, the installation, it’s all a mess right now, with all of those (early enrollees). But again, natural running instincts take over. We’re good. Assignment of some different things and scanning and protection and protection from front to back right now and all of that, we’re still baby steps.”

No one’s said it officially yet, but Matt Jones is the guy at tailback.

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. SEC Championships: Alabama 23 – Florida 8
    Undefeated seasons: Alabama 13 – Florida 1 (in 1911 5-0-1)
    Ten win seasons: Alabama 32 – Florida 12
    Head to Head: Alabama 23- Florida 14
    Last 3 games: Alabama 101 – Florida 29
    10 AP/UPI/BCS titles in last 50 years.
    “I don’t always drink tears, but when I do, I prefer Tim Tebow tears”

  2. SEC Championships: Alabama 23 – Florida 8
    Unblemished seasons: Alabama 13 – Florida ZERO!
    Ten win seasons: Alabama 32 – Florida 12
    Head to Head: Alabama 23- Florida 14
    Last 3 games: Alabama 101 – Florida 29
    10 AP/UPI/BCS titles in last 50 years.
    “I don’t always drink tears, but when I do, I prefer Tim Tebow tears”

  3. I like Jones; but Taylor has to get a bunch of carries too. They are both good young backs. Ha ha Roll tide doesn’t have anything to do but dream about football. Sure is nice to be a Gator and have basketball and baseball teams as well.

  4. Why did he stop at the last three UF / Bama games? Why not go back to the two before that?

    2006 UF 28 Bama 13
    2008 UF 31 Bama 20

    Or, let’s count SEC Championship game victories, 4-3 UF

    2009/12/05 Florida 13 – Alabama 32 L ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    2008/12/06 Florida 31 – Alabama 20 W ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    1999/12/04 Florida 7 – Alabama 34 L ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    1996/12/07 Florida 45 – Alabama 30 W ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    1994/12/03 Florida 24 – Alabama 23 W ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    1993/12/04 Florida 28 – Alabama 13 W ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **
    1992/12/05 Florida 21 – Alabama 28 L ** SEC CHAMPIONSHIP **

  5. Here is another example of Coach Boom not giving up on a player when he gets hurt in his Sr. year of high School. This guy came to Florida cause our coaches kept after him even after he was hurt. Kinda like that linebacker who is rehabbing a knee now after everyone else gave up on him….Jones is a beast and will run for many yards as a Gator. Oh. and get off Roll Tide he has fear issues that he needs to vent on our page…they are well deserved, his fear issues I mean.

  6. Jones will eclipse the 1,000 yard mark, easily, this year. He will end up being one of the best RB’s to play at UF. I am really excited about his pass-catching skills. That’s going to add a dimension that wasn’t used much, last year. Taylor will come on, about mid-season and provide a nice upper-cut, that should help us close out some games. I can’t help but hope Mack Brown finds it, this year. He seems to be a good kid, that had a lot of pressure put on him, coming out of high school. Once Driskel gets the passing game going and teams have to back out of the box, the running game should become very effective; especially with the OL we are going to have.

  7. Hey troll tide….we will c who is laughing last when allegations of recruit tampering,lying, & the paying of recruits is xposed on ur boy Satan! U wish ur school was half the school UF is! Winning is one thing & whining is another, but u guys seem to do BOTH!