Discipline for Morrison undecided

HOOVER, Ala. -- Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison is expected to take the reins of the middle linebacker position after Jon Bostic graduated and was selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the NFL Draft. Morrison's offseason hasn't been ideal, as he was arrested in mid-June for punching a bouncer at a nightclub after he didn't receive a discounted cover charge.

Antonio Morrison was given a six-month deferral in late June for the assault charge. The sophomore must pay $100 to the state attorney's office, attend an anger management program, do two ride alongs with University of Florida police for each hours each, and make a $150 donation to CDS Family and Behavior Health Services in Gainesville or do 12 hours community service.

There's also the opportunity for discipline from inside the Florida football program. Florida head coach Will Muschamp said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days that he has a list of things Morrison has to accomplish to regain his good standing with the team, and after that, the two will sit down and talk about any further discipline, such as missing games.

"He's being disciplined right now," Muschamp said. "When a situation like that happens, you sit back and gather all the facts and look at the situation. Obviously, we're disappointed that he was in that situation but also that he made that decision. You educate the student athlete about making a better decision the next time around, and hopefully it doesn't happen at that time of night."

Morrison was active as a freshman linebacker

The decision about potentially missing games will be the interesting one. The Gators open the season against Toledo on August 31 before hitting the road to face instate rival Miami on September 7. The season-opener comes against a Toledo team that returns plenty from its high-powered offense one year ago. Missing that game would leave a hole in the middle of the defense and keep Morrison from getting on the field to prepare for the game at Miami.

Muschamp said on Tuesday that the time on the field wasn't the important thing. He wants to make sure his sophomore linebacker understands about making better decisions off the field.

"I haven't made any decision about playing time, but to me, it's not about playing time. It's about educating the young man," Muschamp said. "One of my favorite things to say to our players all the time is, ‘help me help you.' I think my track record speaks for itself as far as discipline is concerned. You need to meet these things before you can work your way back as a part of playing for the University of Florida.

"And once you meet these things, then we'll sit down and decide about the other things. Generally, if they don't meet those things, then they won't be a part of our program.

Muschamp did say there was "a possibility" that Morrison would be off the field early in the season.

Even with the legal trouble, his teammates are seeing a different player this offseason. Morrison got on the field as a freshman and made plays for the often-injured Jelani Jenkins. It was his preparation for the starting job this season. He has used to year of experience to help drive him even more.

"He's doing the best I have ever seen a young kid do," Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley said. "He is young, some kids are nervous, but he is far from that. That is a special kid. I have never seen anyone that really wants it like him. He loves the game and wants to be the best at where he is at."


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