Pac-12: Garrett Embry

Opening camp: Oregon

August, 9, 2010
8/09/10
8:30
AM ET
Oregon opens preseason camp today. Here's a quick look.

Who's back: Nine starters on offense, eight on defense, P Jackson Rice

Big names: RB LaMichael James, LT Bo Thran, WR Jeff Maehl, DE Kenny Rowe, LB Casey Matthews, DT Brandon Bair

What's new: The Ducks staff returns intact for Chip Kelly's second year as head coach. They will be breaking in a new QB after Jeremiah Masoli was given the boot.

Key competition: The QB battle between senior Nate Costa and sophomore Darron Thomas will be the conference's most-watched competition. Things also are uncertain at left cornerback, where freshmen Terrance Mitchell and Avery Patterson eclipsed the more experienced Cliff Harris during the spring. There's an "Or" between Dion Jordan and Terrell Turner on the depth chart at defensive end. And things are unresolved at kicker, where Rob Beard will try to hold off freshman Alejandro Maldonado, who has Lady Gaga in his corner.

Breaking out: The 6-foot-7 Jordan is an intriguing talent. James' backup Kenjon Barner, a dynamic athlete, will get plenty of touches. Maehl surged late last season and could turn in an All-Conference season. While listed as a backup, LB Michael Clay has consistently drawn raves. FS John Boyett, LB Spencer Paysinger and DT Brandon Bair also appear poised to be in the All-Conference picture.

Quote: Kelly on the QB competition: “It’s always a question mark when you lose your quarterback. We have two competent players in Nate Costa and Darron Thomas who will battle it out in preseason camp. Both are prepared and worked really hard for it. All of our offensive line, receivers and running backs are back. They will have a supporting cast around them.”

Notes: James and Beard will be suspended for the season-opener against New Mexico because of off-field issues... Talented backup LB linebacker Kiko Alonso was suspended for the season after he received a DUI... Receivers Tyrece Gaines and Diante Jackson were both declared academically ineligible and are not expected to return to the team... Receivers receiver Jamere Holland and Garrett Embry also were dismissed from the team.

Un-Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon State police blotter

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
12:00
PM ET
Ah, the beautiful Northwest. Wine country. Seafood. Snow-capped mountains. Badly behaving athletes.

It's fair to assume that Oregon State fans are no longer tee-heeing about all of Oregon's off-field troubles. While the Beavers haven't approached the headline-grabbing, are-you-kidding-me? shock of a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronics from a fraternity, their run of incidents has certainly ramped up of late.

The latest two items may threaten the status of one starter, defensive lineman Brennan Olander, and a potential backup quarterback, Peter Lalich. Olander was part of a golf cart joyride gone wrong, which is more of an issue for him than fellow alleged offenders, Lyle Moevao and Keaton Kristick, because: 1. he's still on the team; and, 2. he was involved in a previous incident. Lalich, meanwhile, was charged with a boating DUI over the weekend. He was kicked out of Virginia for two alcohol-related offenses.

If you've forgotten the Ducks' rap sheet, you can review it here: thefts, brawls, DUIs, a domestic incident, Facebook tirades, suspensions and expulsions. Lots of page turners.

As for the Beavers, Paul Buker sets it all up nicely here, while this is another effort from the Statesman-Journal.

Lalich's arrest is the Beavers' seventh police incident this offseason. The Ducks had eight.

Now, here's our issue: There have been rumbles of media criticism over how the incidents have been covered, with a few Ducks feeling like the Beavers got a free pass compared to the national coverage of Oregon's woes.

Balderdash.

We, of course, would never minimize incidents that require police involvement, but come on folks. Let's get real here.

Three Beavers take a joyride in a golf cart and flip it, doing significant damage. Dumb, but just imagine the scene in your head. Are you honestly possessed with a "let's get tough on crime!" outrage. No, you are not.

As for Olander's previous offense, which obviously slipped under the media radar, Buker of The Oregonian writes, "Olander may face additional team sanctions because he has been in court before, having pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by receiving stemming from a May 2009 incident. That incident involved a bike that had been reported stolen and was later found in Olander’s possession. Olander told authorities he had purchased the bike from a transient for $50."

The other three incidents? Two were freshmen cited for minor in possession of alcohol charges. The third was a freshman walk-on who is no longer with the team getting arrested on May 2 for resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer and being a minor in possession.

The names here? John Braun, Tyler Thomas and Kaua Olds.

Compare that to: Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, Jamere Holland, Garrett Embry, Josh Kaddu, Kiko Alonso and Rob Beard.

In other words, the Ducks in trouble for various reasons were stars and contributors from a team that played in the Rose Bowl. In Holland's case, he was an oft-troubled but big-name USC transfer who went nuts on his Facebook page, which is an underhanded pitch for reporters.

Further, the Masoli theft case was a mystery that challenged mainstream reporters for whom Internet rumors are not sufficient grounds to go forward with a story. While the fraternity theft happened on Jan. 23, Masoli was never arrested or officially named a suspect until just before he pleaded guilty on March 12. Those days in between, while a variety of other incidents occurred, therefore created an atmosphere of intrigue: Did he really do it?

Yep.

Further, James' domestic incident also inspired a significant undercurrent of speculation: she's railroading him versus he beat her up. Turned out, it was a complicated, nuanced situation that was handled well by authorities. But, again, there was a long stretch between arrest and resolution. If that had been a single incident, the spotlight wouldn't have burned so bright during the interregnum. It wasn't.

From a media perspective, there was way -- WAY -- more going on with Oregon vs. Oregon State, in large part because it became a perfect storm of unresolved matters involving star players augmented by a scattering of new incidents along a timeline that provide new reasons to revisit the unresolved matters involving star players.

As in, no resolution today? Well, let's debate whether Oregon is out of control under coach Chip Kelly.

What's the bottom line here?

It is this: Oregon and Oregon State fans should know -- and I read a lot of newspapers because it's a major part of my job as a blogger -- that both teams are covered well by responsible, skilled beat reporters who work very hard to get the story correct.

There's no media bias or conspiracy. Promise.

Masoli pleads guilty to burglary

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
4:50
PM ET
Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and former wide receiver Garrett Embry entered guilty pleas to charges of burglary in connection with Jan. 24 thefts from a Eugene fraternity house, according to The Oregonian.

They both will get 12 months probation, be ordered to serve 140 hours of community service within eight months and owe a restitution of more than $5,000 due in 10 days, according to the newspaper.

More later.

Report: James sentenced

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
11:54
AM ET
Oregon running back LaMichael James pleaded guilty to one count of physical harassment Friday and received 24 months probation and 10 days in jail, with credit for the time served, according to The Oregonian.

Four other misdemeanor charges were dropped: one count of strangulation, two counts of fourth-degree assault and another charge of physical harassment.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and former receiver Garrett Embry will enter pleas to second-degree burglary at 3:30 p.m. ET.

More later, including coach Chip Kelly's discipline decisions.

Masoli will be charged with second-degree burglary

March, 10, 2010
3/10/10
7:20
PM ET
Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli will be charged with second-degree burglary during a court appearance Friday, according court records obtained by the Eugene Register-Guard.

Masoli, the Ducks first-team All-Pac-10 quarterback, will appear with former Ducks receiver Garrett Embry. Both will be arraigned in Lane County Circuit Court in connection with an alleged theft at the SAE fraternity at Oregon on Jan. 24.

Oregon officials had no comment. The Lane County District Attorney's office sent out a release only confirming that Masoli and Embry will appear in court together at 1:30 p.m. PDT.

Oregon running back LaMichael James also will appear in court that day. James was arrested on domestic violence charges on Feb. 17.

The Oregonian reported that James will plead no contest to the charges "as part of a plea agreement that includes anger management, other punishment and gets him easier access to the school and a return to his athletics programs."

Kelly vs. Canzano on Oregon discipline

February, 24, 2010
2/24/10
12:05
PM ET
This is great radio: Oregonian columnist John Canzano and Oregon coach Chip Kelly engage in a spirited debate over discipline within the Ducks' program.

Here's Canzano reviewing the debate a day later.

Couple of things.

Both guys score points.

Canzano makes a valid point -- Kelly admits as much -- that running back LaMichael James should be suspended after he was charged with domestic violence last week.

Canzano notes an inconsistency that backup linebacker Kiko Alonso was suspended for the 2010 season after being charged with DUI early Saturday morning.

Not sure if I agree. Alonso's and James' cases are substantially different. There's no field test for truth with James' case.

Clearly, Kelly believes that there are two sides in James' case. "I believe my player," he said. So Kelly is withholding judgment until the case goes forward in court -- a questionable but not indefensible course of action.

Canzano talks about public perception and how Kelly needs to send a message to his team.

"I don't speak for the public, but I speak for this team," Kelly replied.

That's an interesting assertion in a way that might not be immediately clear.

While Kelly's program is getting trenched by the media -- and rightfully so, by the way -- Kelly's handling of events is almost certainly playing well in the locker room.

And it will help Kelly in recruiting.

Players -- and players' families -- want a coach who's got their backs, even when they're in trouble.

Know who first told me that? Bobby Bowden, who was often accused of being lax on discipline.

Zero-tolerance discipline makes for a good sound bite. There are plenty of people who love its seeming righteousness.

It's just not the only -- or necessarily most effective -- way to manage people in the real world, particularly when many controversies have significant gray areas.

Speaking of the real world, some have pointed at a potential double standard. Kelly has suspended or booted three backups and a walk-on but no starters involved in off-field problems.

First, that's only a superficial take. When reviewed on an individual basis, Kelly's logic for handling each player is defensible. For example, dismissed backup receivers Garrett Embry and Jamere Holland are completely aware of why they are no longer with the team. I -- and other reporters -- inquired about both of their statuses in advance of their recent headline-making transgressions.

But, beyond that: Of course there's a double standard! A walk-on plays by different rules than a star quarterback. Sorry that assertion won't end up on a coaching Hallmark card, but it's true.

Where in our society aren't there double standards? You could start with economics, but let's just put it this way: Does a typical boss favor highly productive people over less productive ones?

Don't take this as a ringing endorsement of how Kelly's handled Oregon's recent off-field problems. It's only that it seems fairer to give him an "incomplete" rather than an "A" or "F" at this point.

Managing a group of people -- particularly 100-plus men ages 18 to 25 -- is complex and delicate. Things can go haywire quickly, and it never helps to operate in the media glare, particularly in our age of "citizen journalism" -- Twitter! Facebook! random blogs! -- where, er, standards of measuring rumor versus fact are a bit looser.

Things could go haywire at Oregon, a team that at present seems determined to take a hammer to high expectations for the 2010 season.

What's great is hindsight is (typically) 20-20. It's likely we will be passing ultimate judgment on recent events next December, when Kelly and his Ducks either celebrate a great season and a second consecutive Pac-10 championship -- and a locker room saturated with character! -- or mourn what-might-have-been amid a whirl of further controversies.

Three Ducks won't be back in 2010

February, 1, 2010
2/01/10
5:01
PM ET
Oregon and three players have separated, the school announced Monday: receiver Garrett Embry, defensive linemen Andrew Iupati and Terrance Montgomery.

Embry was dismissed from the program on Jan. 8 for a violation of team rules, while Montgomery has decided to give up football, a press release said. Both players remain enrolled at Oregon.

Embry played in 25 games as a reserve receiver and regular on special teams over the course of the last two seasons, catching two passes for a loss of four yards and posting nine tackles in 12 games in 2009. Montgomery was credited with one forced fumble and two tackles, including one quarterback sack, in his lone season at Oregon after transferring from Reedley (Calif.) College last spring.

Iupati, who did not play in 2009 as a redshirt after transferring from Golden West Community College, has transferred to Humboldt State University, where he is expected to have two seasons of eligibility remaining for the NCAA Division II Lumberjacks.

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