Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for the second time in just over a month late Saturday night, as Gator Country's Daniel Thompson first noted. The charges are almost as newsworthy as the second arrest: Morrison was arrested for resisting an officer and harassing a police animal — and apparently did the latter by barking at a police dog.
Was told that cops responded to an unrelated incident at a club. Morrison barked at a police dogs which caused them to start barking...— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) July 21, 2013
… The officer got annoyed with him and the situation and Morrison was arrested.— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) July 21, 2013
Morrison was booked at 4:15 a.m., and has been released on his own recognizance. He was arrested in June for misdemeanor battery, and got a deferred prosecution agreement that included police ride-alongs in that incident. And, if I'm being really honest, Morrison's alleged crimes here seem to me to boil down to angering an officer of the law to the point that he could be arrested for it.
On Tuesday, Will Muschamp told reporters at SEC Media Days that he had not decided on a punishment for Morrison for the June arrest, but also said this about the role of head coaches in college football teams' discipline.
Q. How much is a head coach responsible for the off‑the‑field behavior of its players? Can a head coach know everything that's going on, and control that?
COACH MUSCHAMP: Well, you're 100% responsible. When you sign a student‑athlete to come to the University of Florida, I look at his parents, guardians, whoever is important to him in his life, tell them it's my job to be an extension of what's already happened at home. But you're a hundred percent responsible for the young man. Everything that happens.
I can't possibly know everything that happens every single night with our football team. You also can't stick your head in the sand and pretend everything is okay either. You need to be very aware of the kind of guys your guys are hanging out with. I encourage our assistants, our life skills coordinator, Terry Jackson, to be with our guys, help them grow and mature.
But you're 100% responsible for every student‑athlete on your football team.
Morrison is the first Florida player recruited and coached entirely by Muschamp and his staff to have an impact on the field and find significant trouble off of it: A.C. Leonard, arrested for domestic battery, and Jessamen Dunker, arrested for grand theft scooter were each more or less Muschamp's players, but neither had the on-field success Morrison had as a freshman last fall, and no other player's off-the-field trouble has risen to the level of those three players.
Muschamp and Florida would undoubtedly like to keep Morrison around, as he was likely to be Florida's middle linebacker this fall and for years to come. But I would imagine that the embarrassing nature of this arrest, and its proximity to Morrison's other arrest, will make it impossible for Muschamp to do that without a swift and indefinite suspension that costs Morrison at least a game this fall; if Muschamp doesn't do that, at the very least, he'll be barbecued for abdicating the responsibility he gave himself this week.
Update (12:06 p.m. Sunday): Through the GatorZone Twitter account, Muschamp's issued a statement on Morrison, and suspended him for "at least" the first two games of 2013.
Muschamp on Antonio Morrison (1 of 2): "I’m extremely disappointed in Antonio Morrison’s decision making…— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) July 21, 2013
Muschamp on Morrison (2 of 2) "He has been suspended from the team and will miss at least two games to begin the season."— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) July 21, 2013