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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Joiner's actions likely to cost UF win against LSU

Listen closely. You hear that noise off in the distance?

It?s LSU quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux laughing.

In case you somehow didn?t see the front page of the newspaper, UF senior safety and team captain Tony Joiner was arrested and charged with burglary early Tuesday morning after trying to take his girlfriend?s towed car from an impound lot.

Later on Tuesday the owner of the property, Stan Forron, said the whole thing was a misunderstanding and wanted the charges dropped. Forron said Joiner had made plans to pick up the car and that?s why the gate was open, but nobody was there to meet up with Joiner.

No matter what the truth is, Joiner shouldn?t have been there at 4:30 in the morning.

So, Gators fans, if you were sick to your stomach watching Auburn?s Brandon Cox pick apart the secondary, you better break out the Pepto-Bismol.

If Joiner doesn?t play this weekend, you?ll be on the verge of a stomach ulcer.

No offense to Major Wright, Joe Haden and Wondy Pierre-Louis, but UF?s pass defense is a mess without Joiner.

These young pups have huge ceilings and laudable work ethics, but their play just hasn?t been consistent. They?ve all made some great plays, but that becomes a whole lot more difficult without their senior captain.

LSU standout receiver Early Doucet has missed the past couple games, but you know he?s not going to miss this one - and he?s going to run circles around the secondary.

As if the game against No. 1 LSU hasn?t already lost some of its edge with the Auburn loss, the Joiner arrest may have just put the final dagger in it.

In a week where we should be debating whether LSU?s defense can stop UF?s offense, we?re talking about legal issues.

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It?s sad when the best team is going to be decided by who has the least players arrested.

Whenever I?ve dealt with Joiner, he?s been nothing but a stand-up person. He?s everything you want as a reporter: candid, accessible and friendly.

He?s had issues in the past - something he understandably doesn?t want to talk about - but those appeared to be past him.

These young guys in the secondary look up to him, and they appeared to have good reason. Now he?s a distraction.

As Lawrence Marsh left the practice field and saw the mosh pit of reporters around Urban Meyer, Marsh whispered that it really wasn?t that big of a deal. But then why didn?t Meyer say more on it?

The most UF?s coach said about the incident was that he was BdisappointedC in Joiner.

Why didn?t players talk instead of declining to comment? It?s their right to stay silent, but why not talk if it isn?t a concern?

The Gators got through the Marcus Thomas ordeal last season, but that was a veteran team. This is a young, impressionable team.

Maybe Joiner didn?t go to the impound looking to steal the car back, but his decision to go there at that time may have just cost the Gators a chance at a national championship. Because if Joiner doesn?t play, that defense is a sitting duck.

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