With all the negative attention "weighing heavy on his heart," Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes asked to serve a full-game suspension for apparently trying to gouge the eyes of a Georgia running back.
Coach Urban Meyer obliged, saying Wednesday that it was in the top-ranked Gators' best interest that Spikes sit out Saturday's game against Vanderbilt.
"I really don't want to be a distraction to the team," Spikes said after practice. "I want the guys to prepare without any negative things going on, and I feel like if I would play, it would be a big thing going on. I'm just trying to stay out of the way and just motivate the guys."
Meyer had faced criticism for only suspending his star defender for the first half of the Vandy game. The SEC accepted the original punishment.
Spikes stuck his hand into the facemask of Georgia's Washaun Ealey during Florida 41-17 victory against the Bulldogs. There was no penalty called at the time, but after talk about the play spread, Meyer reviewed it and decided to punish Spikes.
Meyer, Spikes and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong agreed to increase the punishment.
"A lot of the negative things out there really weighing heavy on his heart right now and so we thought that, as a group, we decided the best interest just for the team to not play him Saturday," Meyer said. "It was a group decision and we're doing it out of respect to our team so we can focus on trying to win our ninth game.
"We think it's the right thing to do. We support Brandon fully and we look forward to get back and finish the season the right way."
Spikes is fourth on the team with 42 tackles and has three sacks.
Sixth arrest in UConn stabbing case. A Hartford man has been charged with lying to police investigating the stabbing death of UConn player Jasper Howard.
UConn Police Lt. Andrew Fournier says 18-year-old De'Quan Muhammad was arrested on Monday and charged with making a false statement, hindering prosecution and interfering with an officer.