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Gators prepare for life without Grier

GAINESVILLE — A day after announcing a mandatory, one-year suspension for quarterback Will Grier, No. 8 Florida began to move on as it prepares for its biggest game of the season.

"It was a really hard pill to swallow and it's just something that we just have to accept and we have to move on from," linebacker Jarrad Davis said. "We love the dude, we really want to support him through this hard time but we have a big challenge coming up this week. We can't let distractions in."

Grier wasn't a distraction Tuesday; he wasn't seen during the portion of practice that was open to the media.

The redshirt freshman told his teammates about his failed NCAA drug test for performance-enhancing drugs on Monday. Neither Grier nor UF have said what banned substance Grier took, but he said Monday that he took an over-the-counter supplement without checking with the school's medical staff.

In the Gators' first public comments since the news, Grier's teammates continue to back him up.

"I felt for the guy," left guard Trip Thurman said. "We support him as a team."

But that team must move on without him.

Sophomore Treon Harris took the first-team reps Tuesday, ahead of Josh Grady — the Armwood High alumnus and converted receiver who transferred as a graduate student from Vanderbilt. Walk-on Jacob Guy, a Pasco High product, joined Harris as the only players in orange quarterback jerseys and the replacements for one of the best young quarterbacks in the SEC.

"He was our starting quarterback through the first six games," Davis said, "but it's something we just have to put behind us."

USF: Player's arrest baffling

TAMPA — When he awoke Sunday morning, USF coach Willie Taggart expected to come to work excited and ready to build off arguably his biggest victory in his 21/2 years at the helm.

What he got instead was the stunning news that reserve offensive lineman Benjamin Knox had been arrested and charged with two felonies after the redshirt freshman fired gunshots that hit the exterior of a campus residence hall hours after a victory against Syracuse.

Knox, who was released Monday from Hillsborough County jail on $32,500 bond, remains indefinitely suspended from all team activities.

"To hear what happened, you're like, 'You've got to be kidding me,"' Taggart said Tuesday. "That just baffled me. You don't understand it."

Taggart said the DeLand native faced no prior disciplinary infractions with the program, that he had reiterated to his players the importance of making good decisions after the game and had sent a follow-up text to the team that evening.

"I was ticked and a lot of our players were ticked off, because they got the same text and they knew about doing things the right way," said Taggart, who indicated he has not spoken to Knox since the incident.

No timetable has been set for a final decision on Knox's future with the program.

"You've got to make good decisions," Taggart said. "We've got a lot of guys doing things right. We're going to let authorities take care of their matter and what they have to do."

SARKISIAN FIRING: USC athletic director Pat Haden defended both his hiring and firing of Steve Sarkisian, saying the troubled football coach passed a thorough background check and had no behavioral missteps until the last two months. Haden said he sent a letter of termination to Sarkisian when he was unable to contact the coach personally, one day after Sarkisian showed up to work "unwell." School president Max Nikias expressed strong support for Haden. Haden allowed Sarkisian to keep working after an alcohol-related incident in August because the coach "deserved a second chance," he said.

BEVO RETIRES: Bevo XIV, a longhorn steer that has been Texas' mascot since 2004, has bovine leukemia virus and will be retired immediately.

injury report: Iowa defensive end Drew Ott (torn ACL in his right knee) and Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (broken fibula, torn ankle ligament) are out for the season.

Times correspondent Jeff Odom contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.

State teams up next

FSU: vs. Louisville, noon Saturday TV: TBA

USF: at UConn, noon Saturday TV: ESPNU

MIAMI: vs. Virginia Tech, 3:30 Saturday TV: ESPNU

UF: at LSU, 7 Saturday TV: ESPN

UCF: at Temple, 7:30 Saturday TV: CBS Sports Network

Gators prepare for life without Grier 10/13/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 9:05pm]
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