The Willie Taggart era at Oregon is barely a month old, and already the first crisis has arrived.
A report from The Oregonian uncovered that at least three Ducks football players have been sent to the hospital after undergoing grueling workouts administered by new strength coach Irele Oderinde, who followed Taggart from South Florida. Offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick are in “fair condition” at Springfield’s PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend, where they have remained since late last week.
Poutasi has reportedly been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a soft tissue condition triggered by overwork that can lead to kidney damage.
While those three players remained hospitalized, The Oregonian reports the rest of the team was required to complete the same workouts this week:
The sources said that some players “passed out” and others later complained of discolored urine, which is a common symptom of rhabdomyolysis. After testing, others were found to have highly elevated levels of creatine kinase, an indicator of the syndrome.
“The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do,” Oregon said in a statement to The Oregonian. “While we cannot comment on the health of our individual students, we have implemented modifications as we transition back into full training to prevent further occurrences.
“We thank our medical staff and trainers for their continued monitoring of the students and we will continue to support our young men as they recover.”
Taggart visited the players in Riverbend before leaving the state to recruit, the paper reported.
Brenner is entering his senior season, while Poutasi and McCormick redshirted last fall.
It’s been in the works for several days but finally became official on Saturday afternoon: Justin Wilcox is the new head coach at Cal.
“It has been a dream of mine to lead a college football program and there’s no better place than here at Cal where I got my start and at a school that means so much to me,” Wilcox said in a statement. “I would like to thank Director of Athletics Mike Williams and his staff for putting their trust in me with the Cal football program. I’m looking forward to getting to know our team and hiring our staff, and we will get to work immediately recruiting student-athletes of high character who are good fits for Cal both academically and athletically. I can’t wait to get started.”
This is Wilcox’s first head coaching position but will be his second stint in Berkeley after coaching linebackers at the school from 2003-2005. He most recently spent the past season as the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin but has plenty of Pac-12 experience from stops at Washington, USC and as a player at Oregon.
Just minutes after the news was officially released about Wilcox, West Virginia also announced that that former Bears offensive coordinator Jake Spavital was taking the same position in Morgantown. As a result, it will be interesting to see what kind of staff Wilcox puts together over the coming weeks as recruiting ramps up in the days and weeks leading up to National Signing Day.
It appears Nick Saban will have another hole to fill on his Alabama coaching staff.
According to 247Sports.com, Mario Cristobal is leaving Saban’s staff to join Willie Taggart at Oregon as co-offensive coordinator. He would also serve as offensive line coach with the Ducks. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.
Hired in February of 2013, Cristobal has spent the past four seasons as the Crimson Tide’s offensive line coach. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Florida International for six years. In fact, the job at Oregon would mark his first west of the Mississippi since becoming a coach in 1998.
Thursday, reports surfaced that Cristobal was a candidate for the head-coaching vacancy at Western Michigan. In fact, one had him meeting with university officials Friday to discuss the opening.
Instead, it appears Cristobal — and his South Florida recruiting roots — will be headed to Eugene.
Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.
Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson. Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.
The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1). The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).
Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.
Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:
New Oregon coach Willie Taggart has gone back to the well in trying to rebuild the Ducks’ lackluster defense.
The school announced on Thursday that Charles Clark has joined the program as its next defensive backs coach, following coordinator Jim Leavitt to Eugene from Colorado.
Clark, a former star safety at Ole Miss nearly a decade ago, played a big role in helping turnaround the Buffaloes defense this past season. He was responsible for coaching the Colorado corners the past two years and helped the team rank second in the Pac-12 in pass defense.
Prior to heading to Boulder, Clark also made coaching stops at Duke and San Jose State.
The arrival of Leavitt and Clark should provide a big boost for Oregon on the defensive side of the ball after years of struggles. The Ducks were in the bottom third of most statistical categories in the Pac-12 last season and are hoping the two intra-conference transfers will help turn things around.