The Punch Heard ‘Round the College Football World was back in the news earlier this week, courtesy of LeGarrette Blount going Marvin Hagler on one of his Tennessee Titans (helmeted) teammates after the final play of a training camp practice.
“I am not disappointed whatsoever,” Fisher said after the incident. “His past is his past. Is that the first punch you’ve seen at camp this year? No. OK. I am not disappointed whatsoever. I have great confidence in the young man that he has learned from his mistake and is very competitive.”
While that may have been the first time Blount went swinging at the professional level, his right jab to the jaw of Boise State linebacker Byron Hout wasn’t the first time he took a swing at the collegiate level.
Two of Blount’s Oregon teammates and a former Ducks assistant coach relayed to John Canzano of The Oregonian an incident that happened two years ago involving Blount, his fists and his temper, an incident that’s never been reported until now.
Two football seasons ago. Closed practice. Autzen Stadium. Running back LeGarrette Blount was carrying the football on a play that swung wide when he was met by two University of Oregon defenders.
Defensive back Jairus Byrd and linebacker Jerome Boyd grabbed Blount and shoved him toward the sideline. A scuffle broke out, facemasks were grabbed, bodies tangled and then Ducks head coach Mike Bellotti hurried toward the mess, trying to break up the players.
Blount threw a punch.
It missed Byrd and Boyd, but caught the side of Bellotti’s face — square.
So, yeah, good luck with this “rehabilitated” running back you have on your hands, Coach Fisher. If people like Tony Dungy say it’s all good, then by God it’s all good, though. But, just in case, wear a helmet.
Or, as Canzano put it, “If you cut the guy, do it from a distance.”
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.