In a recent interview with Tyler Dunne of The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, former University of Florida offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison painted an ugly picture of 2013 Gators football team. While most fans have assumed that there was serious tension in the ranks, Harrison’s comments confirm just how fractious the locker room really was.
Following Florida’s embarrassing home loss to Georgia Southern, the team was so volatile that players had to be separated after nearly coming to blows.
Pads were still on. Tempers were flaring. Head coach Will Muschamp ordered a player to talk to the team. Anyone. So, being a fifth-year senior, center Jonotthan Harrison stepped into the middle of the mayhem.
And then one defensive lineman — Harrison won’t use names — yanked him out and shoved a freshman linebacker to the center. The two shouted at each other with coaches grabbing Harrison and pulling him out of the locker room before punches were thrown.
According to Harrison, there was little accountability on the Gators. Less a unified team, more a cluster of individuals out for their best interests.
“We had a lot of individuals on the team,” Harrison said. “Having individuals on your team kind of kills your team. We had people who thought they were entitled because of the school that they went to….There was always someone to blame. No one wanted to take it on themselves.”
From position groups arguing with each other (picture: receivers blaming linebackers for missed assignments), to players breaking curfew and sneaking girls into hotel rooms the night before a game, Florida’s team comes across just as you would expect an underachieving 4-8 squad to. It smacks of a team resting on the laurels of its previous season, and a coaching staff unable to reel players in once the wheels fell off.
And if Harrison’s depictions appear overblown, look no further than defensive tackle Leon Orr’s response to the interview (click here for an explanation of the word “thot”). There is still discontent.
As Florida enters season number four under Will Muschamp, add “locker room atmosphere” to the laundry list of story lines surrounding this team. The past two years have proven that winning is a wonderful masking agent, while losing elucidates a team’s deepest flaws. Has Muschamp squashed the anarchy that seemingly devoured his locker room in 2013? We’ll know soon enough.