May 3rd, 2011 11:22 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Florida
Tags: Florida Atlantic, Kevin Scarbinsky, Mission Accomplished, UF
Last week, we tossed praise in the direction of Florida football coach Will Muschamp for his decision to dismiss arguably the best player on his team — cornerback Janoris Jenkins — after his second marijuana-related arrest in recent weeks. We stopped short, however, of hanging a “Mission Accomplished” banner.
It sounds like Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News is ready to go ahead and run one up the flagpole.
Muschamp didn’t wait for the legal system to run its course, even though Jenkins’ attorney has said his client will plead not guilty to the latest misdemeanor charge.
The coach didn’t close the curtain and leave the public in the dark by saying he would handle the situation internally, the way he did when Jenkins was first arrested on the new coach’s watch in January.
Muschamp didn’t decide that Jenkins should remain with the team for his own good because he needs the structure and the discipline that football provides.
Nor did he opt for the most obvious show of alleged force by suspending Jenkins for the first two games of next season against overmatched Florida Atlantic and UAB.
No. Jenkins took a third strike, and he’s out. Does anyone believe that (Urban) Meyer would’ve made the same call?
Uh, no. Jenkins would still be on UF’s team had Meyer not departed and Muschamp not arrived. But this one instance doesn’t mean the culture in Gainesville has forever changed.
Keep in mind, Muschamp is currently trying to set a tone and send a message to his players. What better way to do that than to sacrifice a star player during his first honeymoon season?
Also, Muschamp had the eyes of the nation upon him. From this site to ESPN.com and beyond, writers were declaring that — following four recent Gator arrests — Muschamp would have to start backing up his talk of “the Florida Way” or else be viewed as just another coach who talks tough, but walks timidly. In some ways, Muschamp had to act strongly in Jenkins’ case.
And finally, it’s much easier for coaches to dismiss the last guy’s recruits. Let’s see how quick Muschamp is to pull the trigger when the arrested player is someone he recruited. Someone whose house he went into. Someone whose family he made promises to. It’s just not as easy to jettison a player (and family) that you’ve come to know.
On the other hand, should Muschamp not boot the next person to cross the line in Gainesville, it doesn’t mean he’s suddenly gone soft on crime. Each case is different. Which is why we’re willing to salute Muschamp’s decision in the Jenkins’ case while still reserving judgement on the coach’s long-term impact on UF’s culture.
“Looks like it’s Muschamp’s way or the highway,” Scarbinsky writes.
Yes. For now it looks like it’s Muschamp’s way or the highway. But as is the case with any coach, the body of evidence is what counts, not a lone piece.
|Post Comments »||Comments (2)|