Coach's decision a head-turner
What were you thinking, Oregon coach
You suspended your starting quarterback for the entire season when you're about to bring back the bulk of a team that won the Pac-10 title last year. Your Ducks were on the short list to compete for a national title in 2010. The designers at Nike headquarters -- less than two hours north on Interstate 5 -- had probably already started designing Swoosh-covered championship T-shirts. But no-o-o-o-o. You had to suspend
Because he stole someone else's property? And then lied to you about it?
Are you crazy? If you wind up in the Sun Bowl next year, no one will cross the border to Juarez and lift a glass of tequila to the fact that you attempted to instill character in a wayward young man by punishing him harshly while still leaving the door open for him to work his way back into your good graces in 2011. No. They'll shoot that tequila, suck a lime wedge and bemoan the fact that they aren't in Phoenix preparing to watch your Ducks face Alabama or Ohio State or Boise State for the BCS title.
You should have thought of your career. Instead, you thought of the children. And what lesson will they take from this? That they shouldn't steal? That they shouldn't lie? Who do you think you are? Moses?
You're a major college football head coach now, or didn't you get the memo? You're not supposed to care about character. You're not supposed to mold young men. You're supposed to "pray for a misdemeanor," as
With Masoli, you would have won. Don't you remember the way he dumptrucked that Oregon State defender to make sure you guys won the Pac-10 title? Who cares if he probably carried the laptop he swiped the same way he toted that football? That doesn't matter. What is important is winning -- not whether Masoli leaves school and becomes an honest, productive member of society.
Who knows if you'll win nearly as many games now? Your backup quarterback,
Don't you know your history?
In 1995, Nebraska tailback
But who cares that Phillips remained a menace to society? The Cornhuskers won the title.
After that 2004 season, Meyer took a big-boy job where coaches are measured only by wins. Late in Meyer's fifth season at Florida, star defensive end
Even though history tells us winning is the only thing people remember, Meyer still has his limits. In 2008, he tossed safety
Meanwhile, at Miami, Coach
Shannon scrubbed his program with a ruthless set of rules that leaves little wiggle room. A player found with a firearm will be automatically dismissed, for example. So have they built a statue in Shannon's honor for making character a priority? Nope. In fact, if he doesn't win the ACC in the next few years, he'll probably get fired.
Coach Kelly, there's no incentive to punish a star so harshly. If you're really mad at Masoli, there has to be a walk-on you can jettison. The prosecutor dropped the most serious charges against star tailback
If you wanted to make a point, you could have suspended James for longer and softened the penalty for Masoli. James is more easily replaced than Masoli, who runs your offense as if he emerged from the womb with the playbook under his arm.
But you had to make a statement. You had to place character above winning. You had to send a message to all those little ones who wear green and yellow and who sleep under Oregon posters that they shouldn't steal, that they shouldn't lie. You had to tell your fans and boosters that you'd rather risk losing a few games than risk selling your program's soul for a title that would make you a very, very rich man.
What on earth were you thinking?