Antonio Callaway Among Seven Gators Suspended For Michigan: 3 Things That Matter
Florida star WR Antonio Callaway has been suspended for the opener, taking away the team’s top deep threat and playmaker.
Florida star receiver Antonio Callaway and six other Gators have been suspended for the season opener against Michigan on September 2nd. The seven players aren’t playing due of the always cryptic “violation of team rules.”
1. No Callaway? No shocker.
Callaway being suspended – or in any hot water – is among the least surprising headlines of the off-season. The dynamic Gator receiver was cited for marijuana possession in May, and was suspended for the 2016 spring football session after other issues revolving around alleged substance abuse and a Title IX investigation.
Even so, now he’s being suspended for a game, and it’s a big one. For a team that hasn’t enjoyed a whole lot of pop or offensive explosion, Callaway has been the one exception, averaging 16 yards per career catch while also providing pop as a kick and punt returner. Most notably, he was the lone bright spot in the SEC Championship against Alabama with a touchdown grab.
2. It’s Callaway, and then a hit to the depth
The other suspended Gators are mainly backups, with Callaway the only starter of the group. With 27 tackles last season, lineman Keivonnis Davis is the only main contributor being suspended from the defensive side, while linemen Richerd Desir-Jones and Kadeem Telford the other suspended players from the offense.
But Callaway is the big, massive blow. The Florida offense only threw for 2,805 yards last year and averaged a pedestrian 6.8 yards per throw. With a quarterback battle rolling – with Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire the expected starter – someone else has to try stretching the Michigan secondary.
The Gators have a young group of receivers with upside, but Callaway is supposed to be the No. 1 man to work everything around. This means …
3. If you liked Michigan before …
The Wolverines should see the -3 line stretch a wee bit further.
Even with all of the lost starters from last year, this is still a talented Michigan team with a great-looking defensive front and the power on both sides to get physical right away. The secondary is one of the bigger concerns early on, but not having to deal with Callaway obviously helps.
All of the 13 interceptions created by last year’s defense are gone with three all-stars needing to be replaced. There might be several new, good players getting their shot, but they’ll still be tested despite the loss of Callaway.
Michigan has issues of its own to deal with – it can’t relax just because Florida will be without its star player.