USF, Charlie Strong scrambling after another player arrest
USF football has had prouder days than Wednesday. So has the new head coach, Charlie Strong.
Circuit judge Margaret Taylor, a USF graduate, tore into USF player LaDarrius Jackson, who was arrested Monday night on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment of another student in a residence hall.
Then Taylor let Strong have it, too.
"This court, and I'm sure I'm not alone, questions whether you have control over your players," Taylor said of Strong. "It's fairly clear that you do not have control of them off the field. ... I would implore you to think long and hard about whether being coach at USF is a good fit before any other members of our community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players."
Let's remember that the victim of Jackson's alleged crime has been through. That's what matters most.
Yes, we should wait for the legal process to take its course. Maybe the judge should have remembered it, too.
But you can't get around the scene: a USF player in handcuffs and jailhouse jumpsuit, a judge leveling Strong over the arrests of two players in the last couple of months (Hassan Childs' road rage-related arrest led to Strong dismiss him from the program).
Neither Jackson nor Childs were Strong's recruits. And you can't watch over your players at all hours of the day. No matter. This is how it works in college football, and probably how it should work: You coach a team, you own it. Goes with the job.
USF is scrambling. And Strong wasn't supposed to be scrambling when he took over for Willie Taggart. Strong reiterated his commitment to character, discipline and family in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
“While I am shocked and saddened at the recent arrest of a member of our team, I am disappointed that the actions of two players over the last two months have harmed the reputation of our program, of our wonderful university and of my character. We have high expectations of our coaches, staff and student-athletes and we hold accountable those who act contrary to our values.”
We should be thinking about is the victim of Jackson's alleged crime. Fallout is secondary. But it's still fallout. Strong understands that. You coach a team, you own it.