Late suspension announcements before a team’s first game are one of many treasured college football traditions. Florida really kicked things up to a new level tonight.
As the team was gathering in the tunnel to run out onto the field for its Week Zero game vs. Miami, four Gator suspensions were announced.
Safety Brad Stewart, defensive lineman TJ Slaton, wide receiver Rick Wells, and walk-on defensive back Pat Moorer are all out for the game. Florida says the suspension is a result of the players “failing to live up to the Gator standard,” per the Tampa Bay Times.
#Gators confirm TJ Slaton, Brad Stewart, Rick Wells and Pat Moorer are suspended.
— Graham Hall (@GrahamHall_) August 24, 2019
Stewart and Slaton are the biggest losses for Florida.
Stewart was listed as a co-starter in the defensive backfield on the game week depth chart for Florida. Last season, he recorded 41 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble, making seven starts during the year.
Slaton is a key reserve up front for the Gators defense. He started two games last year, recording 21 tackles and recovering a fumble.
Florida is not along in announcing late suspensions, though the timing of the announcement was almost comical.
Just over an hour before kickoff, Miami announced that it is without DJ Ivey, one of the team’s top-three cornerbacks, and a potential starter.
Am told UM CB DJ Ivey out tonight for violation of team rules and did not travel. Brian Monroe reported his absence earlier today
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) August 24, 2019
Both teams are going to be very thin in the defensive backfield tonight. If quarterbacks Jarren Williams and Feleipe Franks are sharp, we may see more points than many expected heading in to the game.