Critical of the Critics

Florida’s head coach has nothing to apologize for in regards to the conduct of the players in his program.

It seems some of the national football pundits have decided to call out Will Muschamp and his decision to not penalize three football players by having them miss the football game this week against Eastern Michigan. Senior defensive tackle Darious Cummings, sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson, and freshman defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick were scheduled to miss the game last Saturday against Idaho. In fact they didn’t dress for the game and were not going to play.

The only issue for some is that the game wasn’t played and now the players won’t miss a game that everyone else plays in this season.

Muschamp who said the players did practice with the scout team last week to help the team and that there are other things that go into a suspension than just missing a game.

“It isn’t just about suspending players for games,” he said. “There are a lot of things that go into discipline. It’s about altering a change in behavior, which we have done here. I think our discipline speaks for itself and how we’ve handled our football team. If it was about suspensions you would never have an issue. At the end of the day it is more than that. There are a lot of things that go into those situations a lot more than people know.”

Muschamp has had to spend a great deal of time and energy on cleaning up the locker room at Florida. There has been a lot of public discussion about the things that went on before he got here and right when he arrived back in 2011. There were even more things that the public doesn’t know.

There is starting to be more talk about how much of all the riff-raff has left the locker room at Florida now… and everyone knows who has been in charge of that. The football program had its cleanest off-season in terms of issues with the law in maybe decades with just one citation among all 85 scholarship players. Things have changed and changed for the better and there aren’t many that can dispute that.

“It is very frustrating for me as a coach, or any coach, to have someone be critical, and you don’t even have all the information,” Muschamp said. “At the end of the day I make the decisions in this program, I handle the discipline in this program, and it’s been handled very well.”

One of the players that was supposed to miss Saturday is a prime example of how things can change for the better. While Muschamp has done his fair share of weeding out problem children, Demarcus Robinson is a young man that has done a naughty thing here and there, but has changed his tune under the right influences of the program.

“As far as football is concerned it has never been an issue,” Muschamp said of his sophomore receiver who is expected to have a good year. “Demarcus works extremely hard on the field. Football is very important to him. Sometimes guys mature at different times and he has gone through that process. The situation with the first ball game was a campus sanction and I totally supported it. He’s had a 3.0 the last two semesters at the University of Florida. He has worked extremely hard academically. He has done everything we have asked him to do. He is a wonderful young man to be around. He has a smile on his face all the time. I love Demarcus, he’s a great kid.

“Just because you make a couple of poor decisions, it doesn’t make you a bad person. He’s learned from these situations and we will move forward. I tell the players to let me help you. If they are willing to work with me, we are willing to work with them.”

In years past we have seen suspensions leap frog important games and suspend for a softer opponent. These circumstances were beyond anyone’s control and these players were punished, even if the rest of their teammates were punished as well by missing a game. That isn’t on them.

You can be critical of a lot of things about Muschamp and his time at Florida, but at this time, his discipline is not one of them.

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