GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas
was suspended indefinitely Wednesday for a second violation of the
school's substance-abuse policy, leaving the fifth-ranked Gators
without their top pass rusher.
Coach Urban Meyer said Thomas, a senior from Jacksonville who
leads the team with three sacks, will miss at least Saturday's game
"He is suspended," Meyer said. "The whole situation is under
review. It's under evaluation, and I'll comment when it's
appropriate. There's no timetable. Nothing is set in stone."
Thomas spent part of Wednesday in meetings with school officials
to appeal the suspension he received earlier this week for
marijuana use, his mother said. Sheila Mote said her son tested
positive twice for marijuana between the middle of July and the end
of August. She believes both results are from the same drug use.
Mote said her son ingested marijuana at a party this summer.
When he returned to campus in July, he failed a first drug test,
which prompted school officials to suspend him for the season
A second test, which Mote said came three to four weeks after
the first, also came back positive. According to the school's drug
policy, Thomas could be suspended for 50 percent of the season.
School officials denied reports that Thomas already had been
suspended five games.
Thomas has the right to appeal any suspension to athletic
director Jeremy Foley. Athletes are allowed to present
circumstances that might have influenced the test. Under the
policy, Foley then makes a recommendation to the Substance Abuse
Committee, which handed down the original suspension, about whether
to change the conditions of the punishment.
"I just have to learn more about it," Meyer said.
Thomas is a three-year starter who has 138 career tackles and 13
sacks. Without him, the Gators will move defensive end Ray McDonald
to tackle and insert sophomore Derrick Harvey into the starting
"He's definitely a big player," linebacker Brandon Siler said.
"He's definitely an impact player up front, but I think our
defensive line was loaded before he went out. I'm pretty sure that
we have people that can step in and step up to the plate. We still
have a good defensive line. We still have a good defensive front
even if we do lose him.
"If there was any position on the field that we felt had the
most depth, it was on the D-line."