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August 24, 2009COLUMBIA, S.C. - Even if defensive end Clifton Geathers' indefinite suspension was lifted today, the 6-foot-8 junior from Georgetown, S.C., is still expected to miss the season opener at N.C. State.
Geathers suffered an injury to his eye socket during his scuffle with police early Sunday morning that should keep him off the field for at least two weeks, assistant coach Ellis Johnson told reporters Monday night following a two-hour session in shirts and shorts with no pads. He added that different versions of what exactly occurred Sunday morning have been offered by eyewitnesses.
"The big thing right now is medical. There's something on the eye socket they have to check out," Johnson said. "We'll see about that. They think he has some nerve damage in his eye.
"He's out for least two weeks regardless. I don't know all the ins and outs. We're getting two, three and four versions as always. There was a player's parent there and an aunt. A lot of people said it was one way, a lot of people said it was the other way."
With Geathers sidelined, redshirt freshman Devin Taylor will take over as one of two defensive end starters opposite Cliff Matthews.
"If he's not here, Devin Taylor gets his shot," coach Steve Spurrier said. "That's the way life is. When one guy is not here, the next guy gets his chance. So, Devin Taylor is our starting defensive end. He's ready to go. He's a redshirt freshmen. He's been here a long time."
Geathers was suspended indefinitely after he was arrested by Columbia police just after 3 a.m. Sunday on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. He did not attend Monday night's workout, and Spurrier said he had been informed Geathers' injuries were "hurting, but I don't know how severe."
Geathers had a badly swollen black eye when he visited the coach on Sunday, Spurrier said.
"It's very disappointing he got himself in that situation," Spurrier said. "He's suspended from the team and will be until all the facts come in about what happened exactly. His behavior has not been like this. He got himself in a bad situation. I don't know all the facts or how it occurred. Certainly, he was wrong. We'll see what the legal system says and we'll go from there.
"We all know how to act. Unfortunately, one of our players didn't act that way. It's embarrassing to all of us, the whole program. We'll live it down. It's not going to dampen our spirits. I told the guys that we're going to be fired up and have good practices this week."