Jonotthan Harrison clarifies comments, defends Florida Gators coach WIll Muschamp

By Adam Silverstein
April 23, 2014

Less than 24 hours after a story quoting center Jonotthan Harrison cast the Florida Gators 2013 season in an even more negative light than the team’s 4-8 record would indicate, the player has spoken out to say that his comments were neither meant as criticisms of the team nor head coach Will Muschamp.

In a Wednesday conversation with the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson, Harrison stood firm behind his belief that “off-the field actions carried to the on-the-field results” and “may have been hindering the success of the team.” However, he did not intend for those comments to be seen as criticisms about Muschamp or most of his teammates.

RELATED: Harrison tells tale of “crumbling” locker room during 2013 season

“I believe that my interview is being read out of context,” Harrison told the paper. “I have the utmost respect for Coach Muschamp and the coaching staff that was there during my years. He’s a phenomenal coach and he did everything a great coach would do when it came to disciplining his players.”

Furthermore, Harrison explained that he never meant to hurt anybody with his statements. A number of his teammates contacted him directly after reading his comments and expressed a mixture of displeasure and concern.

When he read his statements in print, though Harrison maintains he was not misquoted nor misrepresented, he “realized how it came off” and called Muschamp directly to “apologize from the bottom of my heart.”

“The way you read it [in the original story], it comes off very, very wrong. I don’t want to disrespect my team. I loved my team. I loved the situation I was in, loved Coach Muschamp and the staff when I was there. The way the interview came out made it seem I didn’t respect Coach Muschamp.

“That’s the last thing I would ever do. He’s such a great man. He would give the shirt off his back for the team.”

Harrison also confirmed to Thompson that other problems alluded to in the original story – players missing class, sneaking girls into the team hotel before games and getting in fights when out on the town – did indeed arise over the course of the season, though he also pointed out – which he did not initially – that Muschamp was quick to dish out discipline as necessary.

“He did what a great coach would do. He punished who needed to be punished,” Harrison said. “He as a coach did everything right and everything correct. Yes, we had a rough year, but that happens to teams.”

Changes have been made at Florida since the team’s embarrassing 4-8 finish to the 2013 campaign, including the firing of two coaches on one side of the ball – offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis – who reportedly bumped heads throughout the season. But the Gators also lost a number of veterans at the end of the year and will enter 2014 with a young team that, according to Harrison, showed plenty of immaturity last season.


  1. Ken (CA) says:

    Clearly, his mode of “discipline” didn’t mean much, if the players didn’t learn from it and it continued to be an issue.

    • Wes says:

      Oh, please. Name a Gator football team without its issues. Name a coach who dropped the hammer. None of them live up to those expectations. These are 17-22 year old kids. Developing them into adults is part of the game.

      I doubt you have the information to accurately judge the situation. I certainly don’t. I do know what’s happened in the past (when I was on campus and saw it with my own eyes) and know that the blame for these sorts of issues cannot be placed only on Coach Muschamp. It’s part of the human condition.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        And because no coach has “droped the hammer” on these en title kids, many never get the message and hence the thuggery reputation in the NFL and so many ankrupts 3 yrs after leaving the NBA. This is an all too common situation across all big time sports that should not be tolerated even at the cost of potential wins (which certainly wasn’t much of an issue last year).

        It is the moral decay of society in general, not specific to this program or these coaches. It will not every likely happen because there is too much money involved, but it would be great if big time programs like UF would step up and say “we will have true 0 tolerance for this kind of behavior. Period!”

  2. Oldflyer says:

    Dear Ken (Ca)

    BS. I am sure you know that there is a fairly large population–especially of self-entitled young men–who do no learn from either their mistakes, nor from disciplinary actions. In fact the prisons are well populated.

    So, your shot at Muschamp is small and off target. I will take John Harrison at his word. He is obviously an upstanding young man to call foul on himself.

    I expect that he learned a lesson. Why talk to the media if there is no reason? If you do talk to the media, insure that you have an opportunity to review your recorded words, or the printed quotes. I am not saying that all media hacks will intentionally distort, but distortions happen nevertheless.

    Would be nice if his statement today put this to rest.

  3. gatorboi352 says:


  4. gatorboi352 says:

    If things were indeed this dire _during_ the season, why did Muschamp wait until after the season to do anything about it? What upside did he see in staying the course throughout the year if things were really this bad?

  5. Oldflyer says:

    I hope you get a life Boi. Trolling for opportunities to criticize Muschamp does not qualify. But, if that is all you have, I guess that is all you have.

  6. Kurt says:

    Too late. Story was picked up as top story in the sports section of the Ft Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and Hurricane coaching staff using in S Florida to identify a bad locker room. Note that this was the same thing that occurred with JB prior to his transfer to NC State, where was said to be divided locker room as well the prior year. Harrison has created quite a bit of damage to Gator recruiting efforts in S. Florida, as pattern developing from class to class.

  7. Kathy Sharkey says:

    Maybe Coach Donovan could give Coach Muschamp some tips on punishments! He always keeps his players in line, tough but fair. Have to respect that.

  8. Ryan says:

    Kids will be kids…and they will get upset in a losing season. How can you criticize when you have no idea what discipline was given behind the scenes? How many coaches would sit Demarcus Robinson…or dismiss Janoris Jenkins? How many transfers do you think are either reactions to being disciplined or mandates by coaches that are called transfers so the kid can save face?

  9. Spike says:

    First- players sneak out and in on many teams. People talk about Vince Lombardi being one of the greatest coaches – and harshest disciplinarians of all time- yet if you read the books written by his former players, they snuck out all the time. Including hall of famers. Heck, max McGee snuck out the night before a Super Bowl for goodness sakes- returning at 4am before the most important game of the year. And these were seasoned vets- not teenagers. So… It happens. Was Lombardi a crappy coach cuz guys snuck out of team hotel after curfew?

    2nd- I was surprised that all last year you didn’t hear about division. The team stunk. What program – nfl or college- that is used to winning and has a bad year DOESNT point fingers at some point. No one likes to lose. Losing to Georgia southern? Ugh. U can see why players would get upset and take it on on someone. Typically a qb settles things down in locker room – but no 3rd string freshmen is gonna do that and senior leader Easley left the team to rehab. I can remember fans complaining the team should be angry with the losses- well, they apparently were.

    To me, this is much ado about nothing.

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