Florida's Antonio Morrison's suspension reduced to one game, will play vs. Miami

Al Messerschmidt

After a stellar fall camp spent making amends for a stupid summer, Antonio Morrison will be suspended only for Florida's season opener against Toledo.

Antonio Morrison's two-game suspension for a pair of summer arrests has been reduced to one game, according to Will Muschamp, and the Florida sophomore will be eligible to play against Miami.

Morrison was suspended for two games after being arrested for misdemeanor battery in June and misdemeanor interference with a police dog and resisting arrest in July. (Morrison received a deferred prosecution agreement after his first arrest.) After Morrison was suspended for two games immediately after news of his second arrest broke, video was released that showed Morrison may have been the victim of an overzealous officer, and the charges were subsequently dropped.

That prompted a grassroots campaign to have Morrison reinstated, one I argued against in July. But things have changed since then, and one of those things appears to be Morrison's attitude.

I attended four practices that Morrison took part in this fall, and I came away quite impressed with how he conducted himself on the field. He was aware, alert, and committed to the work of being a Florida football player, and led both in words and actions; he seemed to have a maturity beyond that of the typical college sophomore, something that his summer indiscretions suggested he lacked.

Morrison also spent much of his time around the team but not practicing serving his punishment for those mistakes. 247Sports' Thomas Goldkamp reported earlier this month that Morrison spent a Florida scrimmage in the stands at The Swamp — but, rather than spectating, he was running up and down the stadium's steps ("running stadiums," as Florida students and alumni will tell you) in full pads.

We can't know if this is a good or bad decision just yet, because we don't know what Florida's defense looks like without Morrison, or know whether Morrison is truly a different and improved person, or know whether reducing a suspension handed out in a hurry after an arrest that was proven to be erroneous will help Muschamp sleep better.

I do suspect, though, that Morrison gives Florida a better chance of beating Miami, as he's still likely Florida's best linebacker, and that Muschamp would not have reduced Morrison's suspension without near-ideal fulfillment of Muschamp's punishment.

And, moreover, I bet Miami fans are going to be really, really upset that a player who got a bum rap for relatively minor mistakes, something that is in no way similar to how any Miami players were unfairly tarred, will still see their team anyway. In that sense, even if we don't know if this is a good decision, it's a win for Florida fans who will enjoy perma-pressed 'Canes even more for at least two more weeks.

Star-divide

Andy Hutchins is Alligator Army's managing editor. Follow Alligator Army on Twitter and Facebook.

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