I’ll admit, like a lot of other people, I loved Oregon’s hiring of Willie Taggart. I still do.
But I’ll also say, the Taggart era could not have gotten off to a worst start after three of his players were hospitalized following the start of offseason conditioning workouts.
Now while the program is trying to say all the right things, you’d know they’d love to tell you that the severity of the workouts have been largely exaggerated. And that they hadn’t even started lifting weights when the these three players were hospitalized. Great. Then what happens when they do.
If there guys were hospitalized for reportedly doing push-ups and up downs what’s going to happen when the rest of them do go into the weight room and the real work starts.
And no, we’re not just talking about a few guys who were out of shape and lost their lunch after some offseason conditioning with the new strength and conditioning dude. We’re talking about guys reportedly, dealing with rhabdomyolysis a condition where muscle tissue breaks down and leaks into the blood stream, and could ultimately lead to kidney failure.
Given all the advances in the industry and everything we know about conditioning now, and the specialization of the position, how the hell does that happen now? In 2017?!
There’s changing the culture. There’s building toughness. And then there’s incompetence. Stupidity.
I mean, one thing to promise a change in culture to fans and the boosters and to make that clichéd press conference guarantee that “no team will outwork this one” quite another to pull a literal hospital job on three of your own guys the first day of offseason workouts.
And no Willie Taggart is not the guy who runs the strength program. But he was the guy who brought in the strength and conditioning coach: and is responsible for everything that happens under his watch.
And now with two weeks left before signing day, Taggart is going living room to living room selling himself and his program to parents and recruits who will surely ask, “how those three guys you had doing all those push-ups and up downs. How are they now. Do their kidneys still work” so like any great sales rep, Will better be ready to manage that objection, because that’s a big one.
In the meantime, the strength and conditioning coach has been suspended for a month; he’s lucky he still has a gig and the school says it will implement “modifications” to their training programs moving forward: good idea… go ahead and cancel some of those team building programs like swimming through shark infested waters…. and walking on hot coals.
You’re supposed to be making these guy’s stronger and tougher not rip their internal organs. Their parents didn’t send them there thinking they’d get them back on dialysis.