Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Florida quarterback Will Grier completed 20-of-33 passes for 208 yards Saturday in the Gators’ 21-3 defeat of Missouri.
Monday, he was suspended one year for a violation of the NCAA’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, pending appeal.
“First of all, as a college athlete I felt bad for him as a player,” Missouri defensive back Kenya Dennis said. “You never wish that upon guys. I don’t know. I didn’t really think much on it. I felt like he came in and played a good game. I don’t think he cheated against us or anything, nothing like that. I was just shocked to find out that he was using performance-enhancing drugs.”
Grier passed for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns with a 65.8 completion percentage in six games this year, all Florida wins. Grier said Monday he took an over-the-counter supplement that he did not realize was unapproved.
“I saw his apology video or whatever, and he seemed pretty choked up about it,” Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers said. “So it’s obviously a mistake that he didn’t mean to make. I can’t really be too mad at him.”
Missouri players did not appear frustrated at the suspension coming two days after Florida’s win at Faurot Field.
“He only put up 14 (points),” Brothers said. “Their defense put up seven. Our offense put up three. I mean that kind of works itself out there.”
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said he wasn’t concerned with looking into whether Florida knew about the issue before Saturday’s game.
“Shoot, we had our shot,” he said. “We lost it.”
Pinkel said his players have to approve supplements with the team’s staff before taking them.
“There’s a huge education process by not only the NCAA but really everybody on our staff,” defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski. “It’s simple enough if you want to take a supplement to help you. The strength coaches, the nutritionists, we have trainers, they all have things that are scientifically proven to help and don’t break the rules.
“Occasionally a guy makes a mistake. Somebody talks to him, says, ‘Use this stuff, it’ll really help you,’ and then that’s what happens. You test positive.”
Brothers said this is the first year he has used supplements.
“That’s why I (was) so chubby and slow,” he joked. “We always have to make sure we get all that stuff cleared by them, because stuff like this could happen at any time, especially if you’re not careful with it.”
Kuligowski added: “It’s scary, because of all the stuff that’s out there. And those things aren’t FDA-labeled, so they don’t really have to be truthful. You wouldn’t even know that something’s in there when you’re taking it to make the mistake. Obviously we recommend if they’re going to use something, these are the things that they’re going to use and (strength and conditioning coach Pat) Ivey and really our whole training staff does a lot of stuff on that.
“But to say nothing’s going to ever happen — unfortunately stuff like that does happen.”