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Gators RB Matt Jones' work ethic pays off

Florida Gators running back Matt Jones has worked hard all year, and he has been rewarded with more playing time as the season has wound to a close.

Mike Ehrmann

Florida Gators freshman running back Matt Jones has shown flashes of potential this season, rushing for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 49 carries. In the Gators' last game against the Florida State Seminoles, Jones ran the ball eight times for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Gators head coach Will Muschamp saw how hard Jones worked to improve as the season progressed and was able to reward him with increased playing time, according to Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun:

"They've been the big fish in the little pond and they always haven't had to work as hard or do the things you've got to do at this level -- (knowing) the speed of the game, understanding the scheme of the system and trusting your blocks."

Jones' work ethic was first instilled by his high school coach, Sean Callahan of Armwood High School. Callahan has believed that because Jones did not have the best time growing up, the added motivation of playing in Gainesville has helped fuel his work ethic:

"Nothing has ever been given to Matt," Callahan said. "He's always had to work for everything, and he could easily be a guy that doesn't feel like he has to because of his talent. But he was born and raised to work."

The Gators play the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.