University of Missouri

MU’s Gary Pinkel shrugs off concerns about Florida’s now-suspended QB

Florida quarterback Will Grier (right) ran with the ball in the second half of Saturday’s game at Missouri.
Florida quarterback Will Grier (right) ran with the ball in the second half of Saturday’s game at Missouri. The Associated Press

Two days after helping lead Florida to a victory at Missouri, redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier has been suspended by the NCAA for a year.

Grier, fighting back tears, told reporters that he took an over-the-counter supplement without consulting the school’s medical staff, resulting in a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs.

The news prompted Tigers fans to wonder when the Gators learned of the test, and if Grier should have been allowed to play Saturday, when he went 20 of 33 for 208 yards.

Grier’s coach, Jim McElwain, said he learned of the failed test Sunday, though rumors were circulating on message boards during the game.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel brushed off such concerns Monday during his weekly press conference.

“No, no, no,” he said. “Shoot, we had our shot. We lost it. We’re thinking about Georgia.”

The Tigers, 4-2 and 1-2 in the SEC East, play the Bulldogs, 4-2 and 2-2, at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

Florida, 6-0 and 4-0 in conference, is the only undefeated team in the SEC East and effectively has a two-game lead in the division race.

Grier played a key role in positioning the Gators atop the standings, but he won’t be around to help finish the job.

“First of all, I really feel bad for him,” Pinkel said. “It’s an honest mistake. Any supplements our players take, they have to run it through our medical staff. Apparently, from what I know … there was just a mistake. Certainly, you feel bad for him.”

Grier ranked fifth in the SEC among starting quarterbacks with a 145.4 efficiency rating this season. He was 106 of 161 for 1,204 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Injury report

Missouri junior tight end Sean Culkin, who missed the last two games with a knee sprain, has been upgraded to questionable.

He still doesn’t appear on the depth chart, but there’s a chance he could play against Georgia for the first time since suffering the injury Sept. 26 at Kentucky. Pinkel said that Culkin will practice Tuesday.

“We’ll find out, it’ll be a day-by-day,” Pinkel said. “He is doing a little bit better than we thought he’d be doing at this time, so that’s good.”

Sophomore right tackle Nate Crawford, who was limited last week with a left ankle sprain, said he’s already feeling better and expects to play against Georgia.

Vandy kick time announced

Missouri wraps up its October schedule at Vanderbilt on Oct. 24 in Nashville.

The SEC announced Monday that the Tigers and Commodores will kick off at 3 p.m. on the SEC Network.

Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer

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