I don't know if you know this or not, but one of Oregon's players was suspended for the season following the Boise State game...and he was a starter.
I'm kidding of course- everyone knows about LaGarrette's suspension at this point, if you watch EsPN or hung around a TV to watch college football last weekend but, what's not being widely reported is the entire sequence of events...Here goes:
-LaGarrette Blount said Oregon owed Boise State an a** Whipping as revenge for last year's loss to the Broncos in the days leading up to the big game at Boise.
-Oregon loses to Boise State while not being able to move the ball, specifically, they couldn't run the ball against the Broncos' defense. LaGarrette Blount, a very good running back, had an off night finishing with -5 yards rushing.
-Following the loss, Boise State lineman, Byron Hout went up to remind Blount that in fact, they didn't kick the arse of the Broncos...and slapped LaGarrette on the shoulder and yelled at him to remind him.
-Hout turned away from Blount and was punched in the right jaw.
-Blount acted like Mike Tyson and stared at Hout and taunted him while he was on the ground...all while keeping his chin strap buttoned and back-peddling.
-Blount's teammates tried to restrain him...he of course punched one of them,
-Blount threw down his helmet, pushed away a few more teammates and started shouting at teammates and Boise fans alike while heading the general direction of the locker rooms.
-Instead of heading straight off of the field, Blount headed toward the edge of the field and continued the confrontation with the Boise fans. He came up to the edge of the temporary gate and was struck by a Boise fan.
-This seemed to throw gas on the fire. Blount turned to go back at the crowd of Bronco fans jeering the Duck RB and looked to be heading into the group of fans...but, was restrained by police, security and coaches...after being pushed far into the tunnel, two of his offensive linemen made sure he kept walking toward the locker room.
-Last Friday, Blount was suspended for the rest of the season by new Oregon HC, Chip Kelly...a move that former coach and current AD, Mike Belotti agreed with, according to reports.
-On Saturday, Blount called to apologize to Hout for punching him.
Now, why do I bring this up? A couple reasons- first, you can make the call if the punishment fits the crime here. The Oregon Register Guard has hinted that racism among EsPN heads, other media outlets and even Oregon's Athletic department is partially to blame for Blount's suspension. Oregon fans have said Hout got what he deserved and that Blount was not acting poorly by reacting to the Boise State fans the way he did.
Here's the deal- Hout was out of line...the Boise State fan was out of line who smacked Blount...no doubt about it, but Blount forced his coaches and the athletic department to act quickly and strongly since the incident was completely televised on a national stage. I applaud Kelly for trying to restore order quickly.
But, without full knowledge of what Blount did before this, I can't say whether the suspension was deserved for Blount. As a Purdue fan, I'm happy he's not playing this week...past that, I don't know.
I hope this distraction pulls Oregon's preparedness away from the Purdue game, but I doubt it will. It will probably galvanize the team and they'll end up finding a Heisman Trophy candidate out of the deal. All of Oregon's backs that backed up Blount are very fast...none are as powerful as Blount, but a speedy back probably fits their system quite well...Yesterday, Hope remarked that he believed Oregon will be ready, I'm positive he's right. All that said, the loss of Blount leaves a massive hole for the Oregon offense to fill.