Florida's undefeated run through the first half of the college football season will be a lot more difficult to match in the second half, as redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier has been suspended.
Florida coach Jim McElwain confirmed the suspension Monday, saying Grier failed an NCAA test for banned substances, and that the school will appeal the NCAA decision. Grier will practice with the team during the suspension, per McElwain. Grier addressed the media Monday, saying he took an over-the-counter supplement that had "something" in it and that he did not check with the team's medical staff before taking it.
The failed test will cost Grier a full calendar year of ineligibility. Barring a successful appeal, he'll sit out the remainder of this season plus the first six games of 2016, per NCAA rules.
"I'm really sorry to everyone," Grier said. "I'm just really sorry."
"It's something he feels horrible about. It was an honest mistake and, yet, can be prevented by checking with our medical staff," McElwain said.
Grier's play has been a primary reason for the Gators' 6-0 mark, leading an offense that was woefully poor a year ago to marked improvement in 2015. Grier has completed 106 of 161 passes for 1,204 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions -- not spectacular numbers, by any measure -- but far more steady than what UF had at the quarterback position a year ago, and impressive given Florida's inexperience on the offensive line.
The Gators play at LSU on Saturday in what should be their toughest test of the season to date. Sophomore quarterback Treon Harris is expected to handle the quarterback duties vs. the Tigers. Harris received extensive playing time last year as a freshman when Jeff Driskel lost the starting job, beginning with a comeback win over rival Tennessee. However, Harris has seen very little action since starting Florida's season-opening win over New Mexico State.