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The "Next Man Up" In The Florida Backfield

By on October 14th, 2013

Saturday's loss extended far beyond the confines of Tiger Stadium for No. 22 Florida. On Monday, for the third time in a month, the Gators woke up to the news one of their starters will be out for the year with a lower body injury.

Sophomore running back Matt Jones tore the meniscus in his left knee during the first quarter of Saturday's 17-6 loss in Baton Rouge. Throughout the weekend, Florida head coach Will Muschamp remained optimistic the injury wouldn't be too serious.

“We thought it was a sprain, turns out it was a torn meniscus,” Muschamp said. “Very disappointing for him, and he will be out (for the season).”

The announcement ends a disappointing season for the Armwood High School (Tampa, FL.) alum, who came into fall looking to build upon his successful freshman campaign. After missing all of fall camp and Florida's first game of the season with a viral infection, Jones ends this season with 339 yards and 2 TDs.

In his absence, expect to see a heavier dose of Mack Brown (leads team with 359 rushing yards) and freshman Kelvin Taylor (10 carries, 52 yards vs. LSU). Muschamp said Mack Brown, Kelvin Taylor, and Mark Herndon will be the third option right now.

“Valdez Showers is a guy who could take a larger role in terms of a slot guy, but not as a runner so much,” Muschamp said. “Hunter Joyer is also someone who could be a singleback, situational guy for us.”

The timing of the injury couldn't have been worse for Jones. He finally looked to be working his way back into form with a career-best 176 yards rushing against Kentucky. The following week he lead the Gators in rushing against Arkansas.

Now Florida finds itself in a familiar position, having to replace another key player in the starting lineup.

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