Florida football without three starting wide receivers as 2020 practice opens, per reports

By Adam Silverstein
August 17, 2020
Florida football without three starting wide receivers as 2020 practice opens, per reports
Football

Image Credit: Jay Metz / UAA

With the Florida Gators beginning practice ahead of the 2020 college football season, a number of players were nowhere to be found on the field Monday. After head coach Dan Mullen announced during his post-practice media availability that a handful of athletes were did not attend practice, it was determined which names were not dressed.

Three starting wide receivers — senior Trevon Grimes, senior Kadarius Toney and redshirt sophomore Jacob Copeland — did not practice, and neither did redshirt junior defensive lineman Zachary Carter, according to the Orlando Sentinel and Sports Illustrated.

“Don’t believe everything you read,” Grimes tweeted shortly after the news was reported. Toney added (edited for readability): “I ain’t got time to clear nothing up kids … believe what ya want.”

Carter’s father told Rivals’ Zach Abolverdi that his son has not opted out of the season but is at least missing the start of fall camp as he cautiously evaluates the coronavirus.

Mullen confirmed there were absences on Monday but did not get into specifics, saying he would let players — or even coaches — announce decisions on their own.

“We had a couple guys not practice today, but we’ll see how that goes moving forward,” Mullen said during that availability. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you have guys opt out. I’m going to support them fully. Really wouldn’t be surprised if we had coaches opt out, to be honest with you. Coaches are at such high risk because of the age group that they’re in. But we’ll figure it out.”

The 2020 season begins for the SEC in 40 days.

There are already 40 Power Five players that have opted out of playing the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Though no Gators have officially opted out at this time — and those that missed practice Monday have not necessarily decided to do so — both Toney and Copeland tweeted about the possibility on Aug. 3.

Among those 40 Power Five opt outs are numerous players whose conferences (Big Ten, Pac-12) ultimately decided to cancel their fall seasons with hopes of playing in spring 2021. The SEC continues to push toward playing this fall, though it has bumped back its planned start date to the traditional Week 4 on Sept. 26 and has gone to a 10-game, conference-only schedule.

Mullen announced Monday that Florida players will be tested three times per week. The SEC previously announced a mandatory twice-per-week testing protocol as the conference investigated a third, hopefully more rapid, test closer to game kickoffs. The NCAA’s minimum guideline is one test per week within 72 hours before kickoff.

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