Monday, November 20, 2017
Colleges

Oregon suspends ex-USF strength coach after players are hospitalized

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — A day after reports surfaced that three Oregon football players had been hospitalized following an intense offseason workout, the school suspended new strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde — who followed coach Willie Taggart there from USF — for a month without pay Tuesday.

Three time zones to the southeast, several of Oderinde's old pupils — former USF players — expressed support for the barrel-chested former collegiate defensive tackle they called "Coach O."

"When I actually sat around and thought about it, talked to a couple of my teammates … what it all boils down to is a lack of preparation," former USF nose tackle Todd Chandler said earlier Tuesday. "(The hospitalized kids) weren't prepared for the workout."

Oregon said Oderinde henceforth will report to its director of performance and sports science, and not Taggart.

Taggart, who left USF for Oregon last month, apologized in a statement.

"As the head football coach, I hold myself responsible for all of our football-related activities, and the safety of our students must come first," he said. "I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university."

Oderinde, who played at Western Kentucky when Taggart was a Hilltoppers assistant, arrived at USF in 2014 and was among the handful of Bulls staffers Taggart took with him to Oregon.

Dozens of Bulls alumni endured presumably the same conditioning regimen that now has sparked national controversy.

The (Portland) Oregonian, which broke the news of the player hospitalizations, reported that the Ducks' workouts were described "as akin to military basic training, with one said to include up to an hour of continuous push-ups and up-downs."

The newspaper also reported that one of the hospitalized players, offensive lineman Sam Poutasi, had been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a syndrome of major muscle breakdown that could lead to kidney damage, and death in extreme cases.

All three players remained hospitalized, the Oregonian reported.

The former USF players reached Tuesday said no Oderinde workout ever resulted in a Bulls player being hospitalized.

"Of course not," Chandler said.

They agreed the drills were excruciating and demanded precision. Rest and proper hydration beforehand were prerequisites.

The news from Oregon "sounds really, really bad, but at the end of the day (Oderinde's) not going to make you do something that's not reasonable," said former Bulls right tackle Mak Djulbegovic, a Carrollwood Day alumnus whose playing career ended in 2015.

"Sure, it'll be very difficult, but if you don't take the right steps to be ready for these things, you might wind up in the hospital, as these kids found out. Hopefully they learned their lesson."

Chandler, who finished his career in 2014, said an exorbitant amount of push-ups or up-downs occasionally was required, but only because they weren't done correctly the first time. "I remember one day we actually did almost 200 up-downs, but all that does is just instill discipline," said Chandler, now employed at an alternative school in Seffner. "That gets everybody on one accord. That makes it a team atmosphere where everybody trusts the next man that he's going to do his job."

Former Bulls walk-on quarterback/receiver Tommy Eveld said Oderinde's attention to detail was a direct reflection of Taggart.

"If he made (the Oregon players) do up-downs for an hour straight, it might have had something to do with somebody wasn't doing them the way he expected and he just made them keep going until the whole team was doing them right together," said Eveld, who spent 2013 and '14 in the football program before opting for a baseball career.

Moreover, ample rest periods and water were afforded participants during the workouts, the former Bulls said.

"Absolutely," Djulbegovic said.

Eveld recalled some workouts consisting of "stations" featuring five to 10 minutes of a demanding exercise. More than one group usually was assigned to one station, he said, allowing players to rest or grab water while waiting for another group to finish.

And anyone who did lag was likely to be sent home by Oderinde well before requiring hospitalization, Chandler said.

"Coach O is a good dude, too," Eveld said. "He wouldn't run you into the ground and put you in the hospital."

   
Comments
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

GAINESVILLE — Florida’s next head coach — whether it’s odds-on favorite Chip Kelly or someone else — should be encouraged by Saturday’s 36-7 win over UAB.Not because the Gators (4-6) snapped a five-game losing streak by beating up on a 7-4 Blazers te...
Published: 11/18/17
Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

1. A milestone Florida probably doesn’t want to celebrate: Johnny Townsend became the school’s all-time leading punter with his 232rd career punt. But Townsend has legitimately been one of the team’s MVPs.2. It took far too long, but UF’s tight ends ...
Published: 11/18/17
Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

GAINESVILLE — Behind a balanced effort and six double-figure scorers, No. 8 Florida dominated North Florida 108-68 Thursday. Junior KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 18 points. The balanced scoring helped Florida (2-0) dismantle the Ospreys (0-4) fr...
Published: 11/16/17
College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

The Times’ college football coverage team makes its picks for week 12 games:gametimeMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyMatt Baker, @MBakerTBTimesTraci Johnson, @TBHomeTeamMike Sherman, @mikeshermanTom Jones, @tomwjonesJoey Knight, @TBTimes_BullsAgainst the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

The Florida Gators are vetting Chip Kelly to potentially be their next head coach, but is he their first choice? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what the future holds for the Gators and whether the coach will be Chip Kelly,...
Published: 11/15/17
College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

Tuesday’s latest round of the College Football Playoff committee’s weekly rankings shows a clear path to a (relatively) controversy-free final four.Win out, and No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Wisconsin are in. So, too, is the winner of No. 2...
Published: 11/14/17
Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

MIAMI — A question that has been bubbling up all season crescendoed over the weekend after Miami’s 33-point thrashing of Notre Dame. Is the U back?"We are back," former Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted. "I don’t think anybody can say we’re not," receiver Braxto...
Published: 11/13/17