College Football: Oregon’s Blount suspended for season
EUGENE, Ore. ó Star running back LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the rest of Oregon’s season Friday, the day after he slugged Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the opener for both teams.
Blount threw the punch Thursday night following the 16th-ranked Ducks’ 19-8 loss to No. 14 Boise State.
As Boise State began celebrating on their famous blue turf, Hout yelled in Blount’s face and tapped him on the shoulder pad. Before Broncos head coach Chris Petersen could pull Hout away, Blount landed a right to Hout’s jaw, knocking him to his knees.
Blount also had to be restrained by police from fans heckling him on the way to the locker room.
“Football at the University of Oregon is a privilege, and with that privilege goes responsibilities,” coach Chip Kelly said.
Blount’s suspension includes bowl games. He will remain on scholarship, however, and will continue to practice with the team.
“We will provide him with instruction if necessary for him to succeed. He’s going to practice with this football team. He’s going to student support services. He’s going to class. We’re going to make sure LaGarrette gets the goods. And if this is a teachable moment for him, then he can bounce back from this,” Kelly said.
Hout won’t be suspended for taunting Blount. Boise State spokesman Max Corbet told The Associated Press in an e-mail that Petersen planned to spend time with Hout this week to help him learn from what happened.
Mike Bellotti, who stepped aside as head coach to become Oregon’s athletic director this summer, said the Pac-10 was consulted about the punishment and supported Oregon’s decision.
Blount apologized for his actions after the game.
“It was just something that I shouldn’t have done,” he said. “I lost my head.”
Kelly said he and Blount cried when discussing the altercation and his punishment.
“I think he’s taking this very hard and he understands that he made a mistake, and that he has to pay for that mistake,” Kelly said.
Regardless, school president Richard Lariviere called Blount’s behavior “reprehensible.”
“We do not and will not tolerate the actions that were taken by our player. Oregon’s loyal fans expect and deserve better,” Lariviere said in a statement.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was at the game and saw what happened firsthand.
“We commend the University of Oregon and its leadership for taking swift and decisive action in response to this incident,” Scott said in a statement. “The Pac-10 strongly emphasizes sportsmanship and fair play in all its athletic competitions and expects high standards of sportsmanship from all participants, including student-athletes. In this case, those standards were not met and the university has taken appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Blount, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound transfer from East Mississippi CC, rushed for 1,002 yards and a school-record 17 touchdowns last season.
On Thursday night, he had eight carries for a loss of five yards.
In February, Blount was suspended indefinitely from the team for “failure to fulfill team obligations.” Bellotti did not share details, but Blount reportedly missed offseason team meetings.
He was reinstated before spring practice.