GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida linebacker Channing Crowder and
free safety Jarvis Herring were suspended in July for the season
opener. However, Gators coach Ron Zook said Tuesday that suspension
won't cover the new season opener against Eastern Michigan, which
happens to be one week before an SEC matchup with Tennessee.
The 11th-ranked Gators were supposed to open against Middle
Tennessee at home last Saturday, but that game was moved to Oct. 16
when Hurricane Frances blew through the state over the weekend.
After practice Tuesday, Zook argued the suspensions only applied
to the Middle Tennessee game, not the season opener. The duo are
still suspended for the Oct. 16 game.
"They are going to play," Zook said. "Obviously they'll miss
the Middle Tennessee game. It's not their fault there was a
By playing Saturday, Crowder and Herring will get a game of
experience before the Gators travel to No. 14 Tennessee on Sept. 18
in a pivotal Southeastern Conference East matchup. Otherwise, their
most recent action before taking the field at Neyland Stadium would
have been the Outback Bowl last Jan. 1.
"They were going to practice this week regardless," Zook said.
"They had to be in the flow of the game and what's going on."
Crowder and Herring were suspended over the summer for one game
after getting involved in a downtown Gainesville dispute. Crowder
pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct, while Herring accepted