Five days after coach Steve Spurrier praised defensive end Clint Mitchell for taking advantage of a second chance, the sophomore from Clearwater was suspended from the team for the second time this season, and his status for the rest of the season is in question.
Mitchell did not play Saturday against South Carolina, and Spurrier said he has been suspended for a violation of a university policy.
"I would say right now he's definitely out," Spurrier said of the Florida State game Saturday. "But that would be up to our university people. If they tell me he can play, he'll play. If they tell us he's ineligible, he will not be eligible. Right now he's suspended."
Mitchell was reinstated three weeks ago after serving a six-week suspension for another violation of university policy. He practiced with the scout team during his suspension and played in his first game Oct. 27 against Georgia. Last month he was cleared of endangering other students and sexual misconduct by the university's judiciary affairs board.
In July, Mitchell, a second-team All-American as a freshman last season, was accused of committing sexual battery against a female student. But after a lengthy investigation, the state attorney's office in Gainesville determined last month there was insufficient evidence to file criminal charges.
An officer at the Alachua County Detention Center said Sunday night there is no record of Mitchell being arrested.
The suspension came as a shock because Spurrier said Tuesday that Mitchell had changed.
"He realizes that he almost threw away his best opportunity to enjoy doing what he does so well," Spurrier said at last week's media luncheon. "He has really changed his life since all of that occurred."
NOT QUITE "BIG" ENOUGH: The Florida-Florida State rivalry still may be the biggest game going in the state, but it's not carrying the national weight it normally does.
ESPN analyst Lee Corso said Sunday morning that the GameDay crew will not be on campus in Gainesville for the game. Instead, the show will be live in Miami. GameDay broadcast its only Florida game Saturday in Columbia, S.C.
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Earnest Graham slightly sprained an ankle Saturday, but Spurrier said he responded well to treatment Sunday and is expected to play this weekend. The Gators have no other major injuries.
STREAK'S ALIVE: Spurrier said he purposely put quarterback Rex Grossman back into the game in the third quarter to allow him the opportunity to pass for his ninth consecutive 300-yard game.
"We don't really get too hung up on those things, but he'd played well and we felt like we'd let him get his 300 yards," Spurrier said.
SURPRISED OR NOT?: Though he said he was surprised FSU lost to North Carolina State, Spurrier said that's college football.
"I was surprised, but shoot, we all know that we can be beat," Spurrier said. "The other team gets a few bounces, the ball goes their way and, shoot, we can all lose. Football is not always a given. It can happen, we all realize that."
_ ANTONYA ENGLISH