Florida suspends QB Harris, CB Tabor for Tennessee game
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Two Florida players who made pivotal contributions last year in a victory at Tennessee won't be around for the rematch.
The Gators suspended quarterback Treon Harris and cornerback Jalen Tabor for their game Saturday against the Volunteers.
Coach Jim McElwain announced the suspensions following practice Wednesday, saying Harris and Tabor made ''choices.''
''They made choices, and that's the way it goes,'' McElwain said. ''I'm not angry at them at all. It's a choice. Each one of us (has) a choice, and they made a choice to do whatever. It hurts because we've got a lot of guys that really care about this team, and we'll have to have some of the guys step up and play.''
Harris and Tabor, both sophomores, were suspended one game for an undisclosed violation of University Athletic Association policy.
They are the fourth and fifth Florida players suspended this season, joining defensive end Alex McCalister, receiver Latroy Pittman and safety Marcus Maye. McCalister and Maye missed the season opener. Pittman was suspended the first two games.
''I think it's all over the country,'' McElwain said. ''Stuff happens. Improvise, adapt and overcome. In this case, it was a choice and a decision. That's just the way it goes. Somebody else gets to play. That's it. Disappointed? Yeah, but there again, we all have choices and decisions to make in everything we do.
''It wasn't anything we did, the team didn't do. I feel bad for the team is who I feel bad for.''
Harris and Tabor have both started games this season for the Gators (3-0, 1-0).
Without Harris, redshirt freshman Will Grier will start against the Volunteers (2-1) and get a chance to play the entire game, the first time this season he hasn't been looking over his shoulder. Former Vanderbilt receiver Josh Grady will serve as the backup and could see playing time in special packages.
''He's going to have an opportunity to run the ship,'' McElwain said about Grier. ''We knew we were thin at the position coming in. We only had a couple scholarship guys anyway, so that's the reason we worked some special packages with guys back there with the quarterback that maybe aren't traditional quarterbacks.''
Tabor's suspension moves Quincy Wilson into the starting lineup. Tabor returned an interception for a touchdown against East Carolina.
Harris and Tabor provided game-changing plays in last year's win at Tennessee.
Harris replaced ineffective starter Jeff Driskel late in the third quarter and led the Gators on two scoring drives. The first one was set up by Tabor, who sacked Justin Worley, knocked the ball loose and recovered the fumble at the Vols 30. Matt Jones ran for a touchdown five plays later.
''A lot of things happen to you as you go. It doesn't matter what organization you're in, you hit some bumps,'' McElwain said. ''Here you go, next, we got to worry about today. We've got to worry about the now. Saturday will come, I promise you. It's on a calendar.''