Looks like the Gators are going to be really short handed for the Citrus Bowl against Michigan.
Already down one starter in defensive end Alex McCalister, Florida has now lost two more key contributors. Starting offensive tackle Mason Halter and backup linebacker Anthony Harrell have been suspended for the Citrus Bowl for academic reasons.
The news was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson.
Both Halter and Harrell are senior graduate transfers; Halter came from Fordham and Harrell from Georgia Tech, two very good schools academically, which makes it quite ironic that they got suspended for “academic reasons”. In any case, this means that their Gator football careers would have been over after this game, and therefore are over one game before they would have been anyway.
But the immediate effects are severe. Losing Harrell isn’t the worst thing in the world, but losing Halter from an offensive line that’s been inconsistent at best this year might be the single worst thing that could have possibly happened. It’s not like Treon Harris makes good decisions when he actually does have time to operate, and Michigan, which boasts the nation’s fourth ranked defense, has a habit of not giving quarterbacks that time. And so facing them with a depleted offensive line is essentially guaranteeing that Harris won’t have time after taking the snap to do anything but run for his life.
All we can do now is hope and pray for the best…