Over the last couple months the Oregon Ducks have gone through an interesting time. Just a few months ago the Ducks were ecstatic about going to a Rose Bowl but things have changed. So lets take a look at what all has happened since the new year.
January 1st, 2010- Ohio State – 26 Oregon – 17. In a game where you don’t want either team to win because you dislike both of them way too much, the Buckeyes came in as underdogs and beat up the Ducks. Oregon proudly extended their drought of not winning Rose Bowls to 93 years. Suckers.
January 24th, 2010 Part one: 2 Oregon kickers were in a brawl. Rob Beard was knocked unconscious and put into intensive care for a couple days, he was charged with misdemeanor assault. The other, Mike Bowlin, has now left the team. (I don’t blame him)
January 24th, 2010 Part two: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and receiver Garrett Embry are named in a police report for stealing laptops and a guitar from a frat house in Eugene. Masoli, who has had some legal trouble in the past, is still on the team while Embry has been kicked off. Some people say this story isn’t true (you probably know my opinion) but no legal action has been taken against Masoli and I expect this to blow over.
February 3rd, 2010: Defensive end, Matt Simms, was dismissed from the team after being charged with misdemeanor assault in a brawl.
February 17th, 2010: At 3 AM, the pac-10’s freshman of the year, LaMichael James, was arrested on the accounts of strangulation, 4th degree assault, and physical harassment. All of these charges came after James got into a fight with his girlfriend in a parking lot. Like Masoli, James had been arrested before this.
No one knows if these incidents will lead to anything serious punishments. Obviously, some players have gotten kicked off the team but those players weren’t very vital to Oregon’s success. I expect Masoli to be the starting quarterback this season and not have any serious punishment because it’s taking so long for anything to be proven in that case. But with James it’s a little different. He was arrested and there’s been no dispute about what he’s done. That’s the kind of thing that not only gets you kicked off a team but also gets you kicked out of school. If either of these kids are not on the team next year the Ducks chances at another Rose Bowl take a significant hit.
This all leads to the question, does Chip Kelley have control of his team? Remember, he’s only been coach for a little over a year now. He got the Ducks to produce on the field but, as we witnessed first hand with Rick Neuheisal, it’s important to be in control of your team off the field too. But maybe this isn’t Kelley’s fault, maybe the blame should fall on former coach, current athletic director, Mike Bellotti for recruiting kids with questionable characters.
I’m not saying that Oregon is the only school who has problems with their football program. Heck, the 2000 Huskies had some well documented problems of their own, but the Ducks are really on a roll. And while I’m usually not too excited about the Ducks getting on a roll, I’d be just fine if this one kept right on going.