Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp participated in the weekly Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday. He discussed a number of issues stemming from last Saturday and looked ahead to his team’s new season-opener against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m.
“THERE’S A LOT OF THINGS THAT GO INTO DISCIPLINE”
For a coach that has done a more-than-respectable job cleaning up a program criticized for years about arrest and suspension numbers, Muschamp took exception on Wednesday to those that have criticized his decision to reinstate the three players suspended for Idaho despite the fact that the game was suspended and therefore they did not actually miss a game.
“It’s not just about suspending players for games. There’s a lot of things that go into discipline,” he explained.
“It’s about altering and changing behavior, which we’ve done here. I think our discipline speaks for itself in how we’ve handled our football team. It’s not just about missing games. If it was just about suspensions, you’d never have an issue.
“At the end of the day, it’s more than that. There’s a lot of things that go into those situations – a lot more than people know.
“It’s very frustrating, for me as a coach or any coach, for someone to be critical and you don’t even have all the information. At the end of the day, I make the decisions in this program, I handle the discipline in this program, and it’s been handled very well.”
Sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive tackles senior Darious Cummings and redshirt freshman Jay-nard Bostwick will all return to action on Saturday against Eastern Michigan.
For Robinson, who has now been suspended on three different occasions in just over one full year on the roster, Muschamp said he has seen a drastic improvement in maturity though he never questioned the player’s character.
“As far as football is concerned, that’s never been an issue. Demarcus works extremely hard on the field. Football is very important to him. Sometimes guys mature at different times; he’s gone through that process,” he explained.
“The situation with the first ballgame was a campus sanction, which I totally supported. He’s had a 3.0 [GPA] the last two semesters at the University of Florida. He’s worked extremely hard academically. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s a wonderful young man to be around. He’s got a smile on his face all the time.
“I love Demarcus. He’s a great kid. Just because you make a couple poor decisions does not make you a bad person. He’s certainly learned from these situations and will move forward. I’ve always said, I tell the players all the time, ‘Help me help you.’ If they’re willing to work with me, we’re willing to work with them. Demarcus is a great young man.”
A new name was added to Florida’s injury list Wednesday when Muschamp announced that redshirt sophomore linebacker Jeremi Powell was set to have a knee scope performed that would keep him out a couple of weeks with a return not likely before the Tennessee game on Oct. 4.
He also updated the status of redshirt sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye (hamstring), listing him as “doubtful” for Saturday’s game because his injury has not healed at the pace trainers believed it would.
Muschamp began the SEC teleconference by announcing that the Gators actually had to delay practice on Tuesday also due to lightning in the area. While Saturday’s lightning storm was out of the ordinary, weather delaying practice is not out of the norm for Florida, he explained:
“We deal with that all the time. This time of year in Florida there’s a bunch of lightning. We’re constantly in and out of practice, shutting things down, having to move meetings up and move meetings back, practice. Our guys are used to that. That’s part of what we do as a staff and players. That’s just what it is. That’s nothing any different.
“I’ll tell you what was great [on Saturday] was our crowd. That was unbelievable to be out there under the weather conditions we were under, have a two-and-a-half hour delay and come out in that stadium and it was absolutely electric. I don’t mean that because of the lightning. It was awesome.”