It’s been a rough last couple of weeks for Paul Petrino.
In late August it was alleged that the Idaho head coach had to be physically restrained during a confrontation with a member of the media. Last weekend, Petrino’s squad, which went 1-10 his first season with the program, opened up the 2015 season with a 45-28 home loss to Ohio. Now, an off-field incident could very well call into question Petrino’s priorities.
According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, video surveillance footage shows several Vandal football players allegedly stealing merchandise from an on-campus store Aug. 16. The paper writes that “[t]he video, provided to The Spokesman-Review by Pullman radio station KQQQ, clarifies an Aug. 16 incident in which $285 worth of merchandise was stolen from the campus store during a time when the store was open only to members of the football team.”
The manager of the VandalStore declined to press charges because he claimed he could not recall the identities of the football players involved. However, the newspaper report states that cornerback Isaiah Taylor, who is reportedly no longer on the team, and wide receiver Dezmon Epps, who is on the team, are visible on the video and identifiable. It’s the presence of Epps in this situation that could prove problematic for Petrino.
In April of last year, Epps was charged with driving under the influence but remained on the team. Three months later, he was charged with stealing less than $40 worth of goods from another local store and was dismissed by Petrino. He was subsequently reinstated before the start of spring practice this year… but had also served two days in jail for driving a vehicle without an interlock device as required by the terms of his drunk-driving probation. Add in the alleged August theft, and that’s four issues in less than a year and a half, which makes one wonder what the reason is for Epps remaining a part of Petrino’s program.
Well, Epps’ 79 receptions for 980 yards and four touchdowns in 2013 were easily tops on the team. And then Epps led the team with 15 receptions for 160 yards in the 2015 opener.
Reasons enough, I guess.
To Petrino’s “credit,” he did subsequently suspend Epps for this Saturday’s game against USC. That suspension, though, only came about after the report from the Spokesman-Review began circulating.