GAINESVILLE -- It’s official, No. 10 Florida will kickoff the season without its top tailback, offensive guard and linebacker.
Coach Will Muschamp announced running back Matt Jones (illness) and right guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) are out for the opener against Toledo (Aug. 31), while middle linebacker Antonio Morrison remains suspended.
Jones is set to have additional blood work on Monday and is “questionable” beyond Week 1. Halapio, a senior with 27 consecutive starts, is likely sidelined until the Tennessee game (Sep. 21).
“I think his pectoral is filling in and we feel really comfortable where is he, but this being his senior year we don’t want to push him with it,” Muschamp said.
Junior tailback Mack Brown will start in Jones’ place, but will not see feature back carries.
“It will be a little more spread out at this time,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Mack, Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers.”
Nebraska-transfer Tyler Moore will start at right guard.
MORE INJURY UPDATES
Muschamp said fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (sprained shoulder), defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) and wideout Raphael Andrades (turf toe) are all expected to return Monday.
FR STATUS REPORT
Off-the-cuff, Muschamp named every freshman he expects to play this season. He admited some kids are still being evaluated and he’d “be better suited to answer after the fourth or fifth game,” but…
WR Demarcus Robinson
WR Ahmad Fulwood
WR Chris Thompson (special teams)
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
CB Nick Washington (special teams)
LB Alex Anzalone
LB Jarrad Davis
LB Daniel McMillian
S Keanu Neal
MAYBE, BUT PROBABLY NOT
WR Alvin Bailey
WR Marqui Hawkins
OG Octavius Jackson
DT Antonio Riles
DT Jay-nard Bostwick
DT Caleb Brantley
QB Max Staver
LB Matt Rolin
OT Trevon Young
OT Roderick Johnson
DE Jordan Sherit
C Cameron Dilliard
P Johnny Townsend
Noticeably absent are four ballyhooed freshmen: DL Joey Ivie, S Marcell Harris and the two tailbacks, Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane.
“We haven’t made a decision on Lane or Taylor yet,” Muschamp said. “Right now both of those guys are taking some reps, and you never know how the season progresses and what they can and cannot do.”
The guess here is Ivie and Taylor will play, while Harris and Lane redshirt. We’ll see.
“It’s hard to go against the Heisman Trophy winner. I’m not going to express my vote though. That’s why it’s a private ballot.”
-- Muschamp on whether he voted for Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel for the preseason All-SEC first-team.Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton