Oregon Did the Right Thing

I doubt officials at the school to the Northwest had Spike Lee's movie in mind, but they did the right thing in ending the collegiate career of running back LaGarrette Blount. The senior was dismissed from the active roster for his sucker punch to the jaw of Boise State lineman Byron Hout at the end of the Ducks' 19-8 loss to the Broncos.

If Blount had stopped there perhaps he could have been given a lighter punishment, but when he had to be restrained from going after fans just minutes later he had sealed his own fate.

Blount starred at Taylor County High School in Perry, Florida before moving on to East Mississippi Community College. He ran for more than 1,000 yards for Oregon last season and set a school record with 17 touchdowns. His removal from the team will be a significant blow to Oregon's hopes this season. In fact a season that began with high expectations could already be spinning out of control.

Not only was Blount's thuggish act a disgrace, but Oregon had a bunch of other problems in Idaho Thursday night. First year Head Coach Chip Kelly and his staff had players openly arguing with them on the sidelines. The coach made a strange decision to go for it on fourth down early in the fourth quarter when he ordered his team to go for it when a field goal would have made it an eight-point game. The running play, ironically with Blount carrying the ball lost a yard and the game was essentially over.

On top of all those issues, former Coach Mike Belotti, now the athletic director was interviewed on the sidelines and said among other things that the team should be running the ball more. Can you picture Jeremy Foley doing that? Belotti also went up and spoke with Kelly during the game, which is also a cardinal sin for an A.D.

This will be a crucial week for the Oregon program. Kelly has to establish he's in charge of this team and make it clear that players who shove each other or challenge their coaches will not be suiting up. Additionally, Belotti is going to have to learn some restraint. If not, one of them will have to go, and it probably won't be Belotti.

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I am a firm believer in stronger discipline in college sports, particularly for those who engage in violent behavior. I also believe discipline should be public – a view that is not shared by many coaches including Florida's Urban Meyer. While the Oregon program is in a state of disrepair you at least have to give them credit for their handling of this situation. You also have to wonder how many other programs would have cut their best player over such an incident. You would like to think the answer is all of them, but sadly that's just not the case.


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