Friday, February 18, 2011

Dontae Ducks Out, Touches Off an Inferno of Speculation

In the absence of details the web goes crazy, with laments, domino theories, speculation, innuendo and wild rumor.  Rob Moseley and various other outlets have announced redshirt freshman running back Dontae Williams has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship agreement and intends to transfer.

It's the first negative news of the non-football season and as such, it's thrown the Ducks off their feed.  Woody Hayes was famous for having said, "three things can happen when you pass, and only one is good."  Hayes stuck to three yards and a cloud of dust, won three national championships and 200 games before spit-screaming and sideline-punching his way to oblivion and ignominy.  In the same way, four things can happen to a football team in the off season, and only one is good.  Silence.  No news, no shakeouts, no arraignments praying for a misdemeanor. 

Williams' decision is especially unsettling, because he'd made it through the hard part, the year of scout team scut work, and he would have seen the field this year.  He'd worked hard in practice and made an impression, seemed ideally suited for a role as the bigger, stronger, change-of-pace back in the Oregon rotation, a guy Chip Kelly could scheme some wrinkles for and keep the defense at home with all the wild deception going on around him.  Dontae was built like a sleek Dodge truck, a Houston native with power and speed.  He would have got his touches.  He would have mattered and been remembered as a Duck, but in the end he lacked the will to stay.

In the end, they're kids, and he was a kid 2404 miles from home.  No one in print yet knows if it was grades or homesickness or a girl or NFL ambitions, but young Dontae Williams is gone.  Someone or something got to him, and he no longer considered the Oregon program a fit home for him.  In the absence of real information we can only accept it.

Coach Kelly has often said if a player doesn't want to be here the program is ready to move on.  "We'll miss you, but we'll move on without you" is the essence of his wisdom on that subject.  Obviously he and Gary Campbell are coaches who care deeply about their athletes, and they must have counselled Williams and came to a handshake about his decision.  He could have played here, but he wants to play somewhere else, so it's the right decision for him to go.

Any backfield with LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, Lache Seastrunk, De'Anthony Thomas, and Tra Carson is in pretty good shape for a new season.  There are a half dozen other athletes who could carry the ball as well, if a rash of injuries decimated the formidable rotation.  Josh Huff.  Colt Lyerla.  Devon Blackmon.  Terrence Mitchell.  You could hand the ball to any of these and point them North, and another Duck legend would begin.

But you always lament the ones that leave the flock.  And you worry that the announcement will touch off a torrent of bad news, like last year when the Fulmer Cup scoreboard lit up like a cupcake game at Autzen, and half the wide receiver corps wound up in community college or jail.

For now, it's one young man making a difficult decision, and we wish him well.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more. Him leaving could be as simple as wanting to be closer to home. I can certainly understand that. The wild speculation on the blogosphere is pointless. One potential good way to read this--if you are prone to speculate... Maybe Dontae Williams just realizes how much of a stud Lache is going to be this year. Who knows. We certainly hope Lache stays and shines. And I certainly wish you all the best, Mr. Williams.

  2. Yeah its too bad we lost him. He is a great player, but our recruiting class is staked. And like Coach Kelly said we will move on without him.

    Have you seen our top recruit Devon Blackmon. The kid is a beast! If you haven’t seen his highlight real here is a great youtube video.

  3. Dave,

    Appreciate your comments. The fact that Lache is running track suggests to me he's a Duck and intends to remain one, and I agree he could have a wonderful college career at Oregon.


  4. "And you worry that the announcement will touch off a torrent of bad news, like last year when the Fulmer Cup scoreboard lit up like a cupcake game at Autzen, or half the wide receiver corps wound up in community college or jail. "

    I love my Ducks... but I am still laughing outloud to myself having read this great line, Dale! :-) Thank you! LOL

  5. Anon I and II--

    Thank you for stopping by. Agree Blackmon has awesome athletic ability and potential. He's confident and a playmaker.

    Glad you liked the Fulmer Cup line. At the time, it wasn't a bit funny.