Florida coach Urban Meyer has suspended defensive end Carlos Dunlap for Saturday's SEC Championship Game after he was arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. The suspension leaves the top-ranked Gators without one of their most athletic defenders against second-ranked Alabama.
Gainesville police spokesman Keith Kameg said Dunlap was arrested shortly after officers saw a red 2000 Chrysler stopped at a green light at about 3:25 a.m. on a street near the UF campus. Officers watched several light cycles before approaching the car. Inside the car, they found the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Dunlap slumped behind the wheel. The driver appeared to be asleep, Kameg said. The vehicle was on and in gear.
According to Kameg, the arresting officer reported Dunlap smelled of alcohol and performed poorly on a field sobriety test. He refused to submit to a breath test. Dunlap was arrested and spent several hours in the Alachua County jail.
After Florida's practice Tuesday, Meyer said. Dunlap would not play against the Crimson Tide. "Carlos obviously made a very poor decision," Meyer told reporters. "He's not going to play." Meyer said he has not decided whether Dunlap will be allowed to play in a bowl game. Meyer said junior Justin Trattou probably would start in Dunlap's place.
Losing Dunlap would be a serious blow to Florida's defense going into a game against the second-ranked Crimson Tide. Dunlap, who was named the most outstanding player in last year's BCS title game, is tied with Jermaine Cunningham for the team lead with seven sacks. Because of his height and leaping ability, Dunlap also plays a key role on Florida's field-goal block unit. While Florida certainly will miss Dunlap, Meyer said a combination of several players should be able to fill his shoes.
"The good thing," Meyer said, "is we have a little bit of depth."