It appears as if the flu bug that hit the No. 25 Florida Gators football program has caught up with arguably its most important player. Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier, who started the team’s last three games, may not play in Saturday’s contest against the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels as he’s currently “battling illness,” according to the Associated Press’ Mark Long, who cited a source.
Multiple other outlets, including The Gainesville Sun, simultaneously reported that Grier’s status is up in the air, noting that the Gators do hope to have Grier active for the game but simply do not know whether he will feel well enough to play at this time. He will likely be a game-time decision for the contest.
Head coach Jim McElwain on Monday noted that Florida had “about nine guys out” of practice due to the flu. “In fact, today was our flu bug shot day, but obviously our timing is impeccable,” he said. “So we’re gonna struggle today. We’ve got some guys in getting IVs already; we had a bunch in yesterday and a bunch of guys today. Obviously I don’t think this runs its course, but it hurts in preparation. But that’s OK. It’s something we got to deal with.”
Grier practiced early in the week but reportedly did not suit up Thursday, according to the Miami Herald‘s Jesse Simonton.
If Grier is unable to start, sophomore Treon Harris, who was suspended last week for a violation of team rules, would take his place.
Grier has led the Gators through their last three contests, seeing 100 percent of the playing time at quarterback in the team’s last two games. On Saturday against Tennessee, Grier led a come-from-behind effort that included five fourth-down conversions and two late touchdowns, pulling UF ahead of UT 28-27 in The Swamp.
McElwain named Grier his starter on Wednesday but noted that Harris could be used as a change-of-pace option in the contest. A source tells OnlyGators.com that Grier received the vast majority of first-team reps during the first few days of practice this week.
A long-time columnist with The Sun spoke with Grier’s father, who insisted his son will be able to suit up on Saturday. Of course, that decision ultimately lies with the trainers and coach, not the player, especially if he is deemed to ill to see the field.
Talked to Will Grier's dad. He said no way the flu is keeping his son off the field.
— Pat Dooley (@pat_dooley) October 2, 2015
Should Grier play, this could always be a possibility, especially as Gatorade celebrated its 50th anniversary this week in Gainesville.