Gators await Floyd's return


Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp sings with the team after beating University of Alabama Birmingham 39-0 in Gainesville on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. Muschamp said that he supports Sharrif Floyd, a defensive lineman the NCAA suspended for illegal benefits before coming to Florida.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 6:33 p.m.

Sharrif Floyd was wearing his No. 73 jersey and roaming the Gator sideline Saturday night. But there were no pads underneath, only street clothes.

The sophomore defensive lineman served the second and final game of his suspension for taking what the NCAA deemed illegal benefits prior to coming to Florida. Despite his status, Floyd was added to the official dress roster before the game.

Head coach Will Muschamp reacted angrily to the NCAA's decision on Thursday and reiterated his stance Saturday night.




"I support Sharrif Floyd," Muschamp said following Saturday's game. "I stand by (my reaction) 100 percent. That's how I feel about the situation. I'm going to move on with it, and we're going to move on with it as the University of Florida."

That means a lot to players like fullback Trey Burton.

"(It says) that he has our back," he said. "We knew from Day 1 that he had our back no matter what, especially with something like that. It's comforting to know that."

Quarterback John Brantley said the team was playing for Floyd on Saturday.

"One of our brothers was down," he said, "and we had to step up. Other defensive linemen and the offense had to step up and make up for that. We definitely missed him."

Now, Burton says, the team is excited at the prospect of having Floyd back on the field for next Saturday's SEC opener in The Swamp against Tennessee.

"(It will be) real good," Burton said. "He's just like (fellow sophomore defensive tackle Dominique) Easley. I don't know if y'all see Easley out there dancing and doing all that crazy stuff, but just having two of them out there makes it even better."

Contact Jeff Barlis at (352) 374-5066 or barlisj@gvillesun.com and follow at http://Twitter.com/JeffBarlis

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