Grambling quarterback benched

Updated: October 14, 2003, 5:14 PM ET

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling State quarterback Bruce Eugene had no trouble earning the starting job after a record-breaking year in 2002.

He may have trouble holding onto it.

Eugene did not start Grambling's game against Mississippi Valley State. He was held out for the first few series because he missed too many classes.

"I have a problem with it," coach Doug Williams said. "He's our starting quarterback, an All-American, a Walter Payton Award candidate. I think he's got to show better leadership."

Eugene had eight unexcused absences, Williams said. "It's uncalled for to miss seven or eight days," he said. "I don't know what's in his mind. But that has to change."

The attendance records were delivered by Peggy Ethridge, GSU's coordinator of academic enhancement, on the Thursday before the Valley game, sparking a quick discussion among Williams and his assistants.

"We felt like the best way to do it was to send a signal to Bruce Eugene and to all his fans and everybody cheering for him up in those stands: He's got to go to class, too," Williams said.

Eugene said he understands that. "I missed some class," he says. "Coach made it clear: If I don't want to go to class, I can't play football."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index