GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Top-ranked Florida will be without one of its best pass rushers against No. 2 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap was arrested early Tuesday and charged with driving under the influence, just days before the biggest game of the season.
Coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday after practice that Dunlap won’t play Saturday, adding that there is no timetable for his return. Meyer called Dunlap’s actions “stunning.”
“Carlos obviously made a very poor decision,” Meyer said. “I have not spoke to him or his family yet. He’s not going to play. But I want to visit with him and his family first and go from there.”
Meyer acknowledged that the situation was a distraction as his team prepares for a matchup that has national championship implications. But he also said his players might be able to overcome it, much like they did flulike symptoms and linebacker Brandon Spikes’ suspension for dirty play.
“We’ve had distraction after distraction,” Meyer said. “This is a rather serious one, obviously, so it is a distraction. Sometimes this team’s found ways to get a little tighter in distractions. We’ve had a few of them this year.”
Dunlap, a 20-year-old junior from North Charleston, S.C., was arrested at 3:25 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance about six hours later during his initial appearance at the Alachua County Jail. Judge Mary Day Coker admonished Dunlap for underage drinking, and said he cannot possess alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs that are not prescribed for him.