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Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison tackles Heisman winner Johnny Manziel last season.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel wasn’t the only Gator back at practice Thursday night.
Following a heart-to-heart conversation on Wednesday with sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison, Gators coach Will Muschamp allowed Morrison to rejoin his teammates following a pair of off-the-field incidents over the summer that prompted Muschamp to suspend Morrison.
“It’s part of being the head coach,’’ Muschamp said Friday. “When a young man has poor judgment, you work them through it and you educate them and you help them, and that’s what we’re doing. I don’t treat these guys any differently that I treat my sons. It’s called tough love.”
Morrison finished spring practice projected to be the Gators’ starting middle linebacker. Morrison made 34 tackles as a freshman, including a forced fumble against Florida State that turned the momentum in Florida’s favor.
Muschamp announced last month that Morrison was suspended and would miss the season’s first two games. Whether that suspension might be reduced due to new information and Morrison’s attitude remains uncertain. Morrison won't be able to work in full pads until his fifth practice due to the NCAA-mandated acclimation period all players are subject to.
“He’s still working through some things for me,’’ Muschamp said. “We’re working through that at this point. I feel like missing a week of camp was a pretty strong statement to him and where I stood with some things. He's still a part of our team. He was never not part of our team. He was just suspended from all team activities."
From Bolingbrook, Ill., the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Morrison played in all 13 games last season after choosing Florida over Alabama, Tennessee, Arizona and Purdue.