Head Coach? No Thanks.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The drama in Eugene, Oregon has been at an all-time high this week.  As a news reporter, this is probably the most play I've ever seen a college football team get on the news for criminal activity.  All teams have their problems and guys get into trouble all the time but this just seemed to hit all at once.

Oregon's starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was charged with felony burglary for stealing laptops from a frat house.  Why?  We don't know the motive.  He was in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge so at least now he won't have a felony on his record.

Earlier in the week, we got word that the star running back LaMichael James was charged with five crimes related to domestic violence.  Everyone was buzzing about that and yesterday he was also in court to plea down to a lesser harassment charge.  Finally the back story came out on what happened which included the story of a (seemingly) jealous ex-girlfriend who came to his place to stir up trouble.  While the incident should NEVER have gotten physical...it all seems a bit more in context now.

Rob Beard, who is the U of O's kicker, got in a fight a couple of weeks ago.  He was intoxicated, pushed a woman, someone kicked and hit him and he ended up in the hospital.   He's okay now, thankfully but he also pleaded guilty to a charge of harassment.

The list doesn't end there.  Another player was kicked off the team this month for a DUI and player Garrett Embry who was charged along with Masoli for the frat house burglary was kicked off the team for "breaking team rules."  We may never know what he did to get kicked off even before the charges came out.

I would NOT want to be Coach Chip Kelly right now.  He's taking a lot of heat for how his players are acting off the field.  But really, how does he control them?  Did he set a poor precedence earlier this year when LaGarret Blount clocked another player after a game and was still allowed to play?  Perhaps.

Obviously I've never played college ball and I've never coached a big-hitter team but how do you keep your guys legal when that's not your job in the first place?  Kelly is there to get wins for the Ducks.  That's what it comes down to.  People will say, no he's there to lead young men and bring success into their lives.  I think that's a bunch of BS.  Wins mean more money for the University because sponsors are happy to open their wallets when they see a bunch of Ws on the score board.  Universities operate like businesses and superior sports teams lead to dollars.

Does success come from the top?  Does it take a good leader to keep "followers" on the straight and narrow?    What should Kelly do to get a handle on his team now before he loses more star players for the season?  Somehow these guys need to take pride in their own lives and think past the 100 yards of green to their education and future.  Maybe Kelly needs to sit them down and have a talk about life beyond football.  These four glory years can end up as the cap to a life living in Loserville if they don't hang up the bad a$$ attitude in a football uniform.

Suffice it to say, I would never want to be a head coach and I also think it must be difficult to be a big-time player celebrated for your time running the 40.  Let's be honest, no one really cares how these guys fare intellectually and that must not be a good feeling.  Come on Ducks!  Let's see what you're made of.


Crystal Young said...

Same thing they do at University of Oklahoma, coach a deep bench then it won't matter who gets caught because you have other players who are just as good ready to take their place. Nothing motivates like losing your spot to the second string.

Chris F. said...

One thing is for sure, if you are wanting to get into coaching merely for the fame and money, you are wasting your time. Blaming the head coach for everything that goes wrong with a team or player is easy enough to do just as the coach gets all the credit for when it wins.

But you are right, in general people don't care about how they turn out afterwards so as long as they win games. It is just that this is magnified by the fact that college football is big money and with it comes increased scrutiny.

Denae said...

Crystal - great point. You're not such a big shot when someone else can do your job! Chris F - I agree with you about blaming coaches. It doesn't seem too fair.