Not only has Mark Helfrich picked up where former coach Chip Kelly left off with regards to maintaining Oregon’s up-tempo offense, but the first-year coach has also continued Kelly’s practice of refusing to discuss injuries with the media. When asked why star tight end Colt Lyerla was absent from Saturday’s 59-14 thrashing of Tennessee, Helfrich didn’t provide an explanation beyond merely “circumstances.” Besides media members looking for information, the one-word answer also displeased Lyerla himself.
(Lyerla’s replacement, freshman Johnny Mundt, had five catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns.)
Here, courtesy of Oregon Live, are Lyerla’s thoughts about the situation:
I’m really upset with the way coach Helfrich said that after the game. Really disappointed. I feel hurt about this. I watched a little bit of what he said, then started reading all of it, and … it was unfair.
I have no idea why he said that. It made me really upset. It’s not my fault I got sick. I just felt he could have had my back a little bit more instead of throwing me under the bus.
Of course, it is worth noting that the word “circumstances” doesn’t inherently have negative connotations. The bloggers and tweeters who assumed the worse when the word “circumstances” was used deserve more blame for “not having Lyerla’s back” than coach Helfrich does. Regardless of who is to blame, though, discontent and disunity are things the Ducks can ill-afford as they chase a national title. Let’s hope the situation is cleared up before it snowballs into something worse.
[Source: Oregon Live]