GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Antonio Morrison won’t take the field for the Florida Gators until Week 2 at Miami, but the sophomore linebacker chose to take his media medicine Wednesday as his team prepared for Saturday’s season opener against Toledo.
“First off, I want to apologize,” Morrison said. “I’ve been in trouble the last few weeks, so I apologize to my coaches, my teammates. Everything that went wrong is behind me. I’m moving forward from this. I learned from it. I just want to play football. That’s all it is.”
Morrison, the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder and starting inside linebacker, was suspended for the season’s first two games by UF coach Will Muschamp following a pair of off-the-field incidents this summer.
Muschamp announced Monday that after a “thorough review” he had reduced the suspension to one game.
“I think he’s remorseful about the whole situation,” Muschamp said. “Guys make mistakes and have poor judgment at times. I’m just disappointed with how the whole [situation] was handled.”
Added Morrison. “I Just learned a lot from the situation and how to deal with things and how to handle things.”
Morrison made it clear that any conversation he had with Muschamp and his teammates were private -- “That’s inside us, nothing for sharing” -- and also that he wanted to address the situation now so he can turn his focus to football.
“I’m not going to run from you all,” he said. “Games, weeks down [the line], the Kentucky game, guys still asking asking me about this ... I want this to be done with. After this, I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve already discussed this with you. It’s football from here on out.”
For Morrison, that will mean taking his spot at middle linebacker (the “Mike” position), where he figures to share and/or rotate duties with junior Mike Taylor and senior Darrin Kitchens. UF also will have packages when both Morrison and Taylor, the unit’s most physical players, are on the field at the same time.
After enrolling at UF in the spring of 2012, Morrison played in 13 games, with three starts, as a true freshman.
The former Bolingbrook (Ill.) star finished the season with 34 tackles, including four for loss, to go with a sack and arguably the biggest forced fumble of the season when he jarred the ball loose from Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel to jumpstart a fourth-quarter comeback defeat of the Seminoles.