With Troy Hill’s indefinite suspension, the Ducks are facing team discipline issues that have been a somewhat common theme this year.
Hill is the fourth Oregon player to be suspended for a game this year as he joins former tight end Colt Lyerla, safety Eric Dargan and tight end Pharaoh Brown to be suspended for at least one game.
Lyerla was suspended due to team misconduct earlier in the season and then once he left the program, he was arrested and charged with cocaine possession. Likewise, Dargan was suspended for violating team rules and did not suit up for the Oregon State game while Brown was just recently suspended for the Alamo Bowl for his role in a snowball fight on the University of Oregon campus on Dec. 6. Hill was arrested for menacing and fourth-degree assault on Friday, which led the team to suspend him.
While there are no specific guidelines as to what happens to each player when he gets into trouble, head coach Mark Helfrich says he still expects his players to act a certain way.
“Our guys know that it is an honor and a privilege to represent this university, our fans and this program and we will behave in accordance with that,” Helfrich said. “We are going to do things right as a program. We are going to do things right as individuals and that goes for every single person, top to bottom, and there’s no leeway on that.”
Oregon is no stranger to discipline issues when there’s a new coach around.
When former head coach Chip Kelly took over, starting running back LeGarrette Blount punched a Boise State player following the Ducks’ 19-8 loss in their first game of the season. Under the Kelly regime, the Ducks faced multiple incidents regarding quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and cornerback Cliff Harris, so Kelly instilled a no-tolerance policy, something Helfrich is still finding his grip on.
“Philosophically we’re (Helfrich and Kelly) very similar in a lot of ways,” Helfrich said. “I think that my parents, my high school coach and everybody I’ve ever been around has influenced our stance. But again we’re going to do the right thing.”
On a more football-related note, Helfrich said the Ducks are done trying to fix things they struggled with during the season and are now focusing solely on Texas.
“Every practice is a time to compete, a time to get better. It’s a time for different guys to develop different roles,” Helfrich said. “Most of that has already happened so now we are in a full-fledged Texas mode. We did a little experimentation for the bowl game.”
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