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2 posts from August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013

Morrison issues curious apology

Antonio Morrison is sorry.

Sort of.

Florida’s suspended linebacker held an impromptu press conference Wednesday, issuing an apology for his multiple arrests during a five-week period this summer.

On Monday, coach Will Muschamp announced Morrison’s suspension had been reduced from two games to one, saying the sophomore “handled his punishment” and “his actions didn’t warrant a two-game suspension.”

Morrison will miss Saturday’s opener against Toledo but will return to the field in Miami on Sept. 7.

Today, Morrison voluntarily met with the media to publicly apologize for his actions.

Again, sort of.

Morrison: “I’m very sorry to all the Gator fans, my coaches, my teammates. That’s me. That’s not me being forced to say this. I wanted to come do this. I can’t run from it.”

(Courtesy @Bryan_Holt

He added, “I took responsibility for everything. … I learned a lot from the whole situation as a person. I learned to be a better person from it. I’m still the same person. Nothing changed. I just learned how to handle things.”

But when pressed for specific details on his arrests, punishments, potential lifestyle changes, conversations with Muschamp or thoughts on his suspension, Morrison coarsely refused comment.

“That is nothing I’m sharing.”

“That’s between me and him.”

“I ain’t going into detail what I did.”

“I ain’t setting no story straight.”

“I wouldn’t tell you either way.”

Morrison was first arrested June 16 on a simply battery charge for allegedly punching a bouncer at a Gainesville nightclub. He received deferred prosecution. Just over a month later (35 days), the linebacker was detained for harassing a police canine and resisting arrest without violence but charges were later dropped.

Morrison admitted it was tough being away from his teammates and is excited to see the field soon, but said he’s done talking about the suspension/arrests moving forward.

“I’m not [fixing to] run from y’all. Not games, weeks down, the Kentucky game and y’all still asking about this. I want this to be done with. I’m coming and telling y’all right now, any of y’all interview me after this, I don’t want to talk about it. I already discussed this with y’all. It’s football from here on out. We talking football.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Meet The Rockets

2012 Record: 9-4 (6-2 MAC); Lost to Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Returning Starters: 11: Offense: 9, Defense: 3

Key departures: MLB Dan Molls (San Diego Chargers undrafted free agent, nation-leading 166 tackles), SS Jermaine Robinson (4 INTs, including two for touchdowns, New Orleans Saints undrafted free agent), OLB Robert Bell (second on the Rockets with 100 tackles), OT A.J. Lindeman (former walk-on with 13 career starts as a fifth-year senior, undrafted free agent of the Chicago Bears)

Player to watch offense: WR/return specialist Bernard Reedy – Florida’s deep secondary will get a first-hand look at one of the nation’s most explosive, but unheralded receivers. Toledo’s senior wide out caught 88 balls for 1,120 yards and six touchdowns in 2012, while also chipping in four return touchdowns. Reedy, a Lakewood High alum and first-team All-MAC performer, is super shifty.

Player to watch defense: DE Jayrone Elliot – With the Rockets returning just three starters from last season’s 11th ranked MAC defense, the pickins’ are a tad slim here. Elliot -- a senior -- recorded six sacks and seven tackles for loss as Toldeo’s top pass rusher in 2012. But with gaping holes at linebacker (especially) and in the secondary, the Rockets desperately need Elliot to develop into more than just a situational edge rusher. Elliot’s tag-team partner Christian Smith is another defensive end to keep an eye on.

2013 Outlook: Potentially promising: Toledo is expected to seriously compete for its first conference title in a decade.

Reedy is a seasoned star, as is Rockets junior tailback David Fluellen, the nation’s 12th leading rusher (1,498 yards and 13 TDs). Senior southpaw quarterback Terrance Owens is finally Toledo’s cemented starter after splitting time with the departed Austin Dantin the previous three seasons.

The Rockets also return four regulars from their offensive line.

The Rockets have two major obstacles if they want to win their first outright MAC title since 2004: Northern Illinois and an inexperienced, overhauled defense. Toledo hasn’t beaten its division rival since 2009 and the Huskies return their bulldozing duel-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch.

Toledo finished 2012 with the nation’s 113th ranked total defense, but the Rockets were surprisingly successful at forcing turnovers (25th nationally with 27).

However, top-tackler Dan Molls (3 INTs) and safety Jermaine Robinson (4 INTs, 2 FFs) no longer wear Toledo’s blue and yellow, and those are two monumental losses for a defense that already struggled with consistency.

The offense will undoubtedly score points in bunches, but with three new starters in the secondary and the team’s leading returning tackler a cornerback (Cheatham Norris), it could be tough sledding for the Rockets if their young unit doesn’t mature quickly.  

Florida hosts Toledo on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network)

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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