Florida coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday that it had mostly run its course through the team, but reports surfaced on Friday that quarterback Will Grier is battling an illness and his status for Saturday’s game with No. 3 Ole Miss (7 p.m., TV: ESPN) is in jeopardy, according to the Associated Press.
ESPN’s Brad Nessler, who is doing play-by-play for Saturday’s game, first mentioned it on Paul Finebaum’s radio show Friday afternoon. Nessler also said Florida has 21 players that have dealt with the flu bug this week. McElwain said on Monday that nine players were out of practice with it. McElwain told Nessler that they hadn’t decided on a starting quarterback and wouldn’t until the team gets on the bus and heads to the stadium on Saturday.
If Grier can’t play, Treon Harris would start at quarterback. Harris was suspended last week but played in the team’s first two games of the year against New Mexico State and East Carolina, going 19-27 through the air for 269 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“We've got two guys,” McElwain said after Wednesday’s practice. “We've got one that played pretty good in some situations last week that deserves to go this week, but he knows that he's got a lot to learn and a long ways to go as far as understanding how to play the position.”
Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun spoke with Grier’s father, who said there was “no way” the illness would keep his son off the field on Saturday.
The illness is bad news for a Florida team playing with confidence after a 28-27 win over Tennessee last weekend. The Gators moved to 4-0 and moved into the college football polls for the first time since October 2013. The Swamp is sold out for Saturday night’s game.