Florida LB Brandon Spikes to miss entire Vanderbilt game
After meeting with Florida coach Urban Meyer Tuesday night and expressing concern that his presence on the field Saturday night could be a serious distraction for the Gators, Florida LB Brandon Spikes will sit out the entire Vanderbilt game following the controversy surrounding his tackle of Georgia RB Washaun Ealey in last week's game against the Bulldogs.
On Monday, Spikes was suspended by Meyer for one half of Saturday's upcoming game against Vanderbilt. But Meyer said following Wednesday's practice that the decision was made to keep Spikes out the game out of concern for the team.
"I really don't want to be a distraction to the team," Spikes said Wednesday night. "I want the guys to prepare without any negative things going on and I feel like if I would play, it would be a big thing going on. I'm just trying to stay out of the way and just motivate the guys. I'm pretty sure that (Ryan) Stamper got my back, and my teammates really support this decision.''
Spikes was captured on a YouTube video sticking his fingers inside Ealey's facemask at the end of a tackle. Video posters called it "eye gouging'' and national media attacked Meyer for making the suspension just one-half of a game.
But Ealey said on Tuesday that Spikes didn't try to gouge at his eyes and that he didn't think the senior should have been suspended. Meyer said the decision was at Spikes' request.
"Brandon came to see us last night, coach Strong and myself, and a lot of the negative things out there were really weighing heavy on his heart right now, and so we thought that as a group we decided the best interest just for the team to not play him Saturday,'' Meyer said. "It was a group decision and we're doing it out of respect to our team so we can focus on trying to win our ninth game. And we think it's the right thing to do. We support Brandon fully and we look forward to get back and finish the season the right way.''