Monday, September 7, 2009
Kelly, Ducks ready to stop talking about Blount
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
About seven minutes into his press conference Monday, Oregon coach Chip Kelly said emphatically, "We're done talking about LeGarrette Blount."
Thirty minutes later, Kelly was still talking about Blount, the Ducks running back whose punch of a Boise State player last Thursday and subsequent season-long suspension reverberated as a national story.
"It's obviously been a difficult couple of days for the football program," Kelly said. "There's not a manual for this."
That's why Kelly talked to a lot of people, including former NBA player Kermit Washington, who is best known for delivering a thunderous blindside punch to Rudy Tomjanovich's face during an in-game brawl in 1977. Kelly and Oregon facilitated a call between Blount and Washington, who was suspended for 60 games.
Some reached out to Kelly. Miami coach Randy Shannon called -- the two don't know each other -- and offered perspective. Shannon was the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator when his team fought a massive brawl against Florida International in 2006.
But, really, what is there to say? No matter how the present season turns out, the experience at Boise will rank as one of the low moments in the program's history.
Kelly, not surprisingly, preferred looking ahead to Purdue, which visits Autzen Stadium on Saturday. Looking back at the terrible performance -- during and after the game -- wasn't his favorite subject.
"Our team has moved on," he said.
How Blount will move on remains to be seen. While he won't play this season, Oregon will keep him on scholarship and allow him to practice with the team if he chooses.
Blount didn't practice Monday.
“I can’t force him to do anything -- it’s his decision," Kelly said. "But I also know the young man’s been through a lot and he probably deserves some time to catch his breath and try to make a logical decision based on what he feels is the best situation for him."
As for the game, Kelly wasn't terribly expansive about what went wrong with his offense. No one other than freshman punter Jackson Rice received a positive review Monday.
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was trying too hard to hit the big play instead of moving the chains. The offensive line showed its youth. Of the receivers, only Jeff Maehl seemed to get open -- or to catch the ball when it arrived.
Kelly didn't have a problem with how the Ducks prepared, only with how they executed in the 19-8 defeat.
While Purdue is expected to finish at or near the bottom of the Big Ten, the Ducks only beat the Boilermakers 32-26 in overtime last season.
Long-time Purdue coach Joe Tiller retired after going 4-8, and Danny Hope, his top assistant, took over. The Boilermakers opened with a 52-31 win over Toledo.
The Ducks were off Saturday and Sunday, and Kelly said Monday morning's practice was good.
He's not worried about a hangover or a loss of focus.
"I'm not worried about our kids at all," he said.
He'd just like to change the subject.