Got a perfect way to get into Byron Hout’s head next week.
Before the first play from scrimmage a Miami (Ohio) offensive lineman ought to shout across the line, “How was your internal discipline.”
Twenty-four hours after Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the season, the national glare of blame has focused on Boise State. Incredibly, the guy who baited Blount into freaking out was not suspended. Hout, a sophomore defensive end, was the one who laid a hand on Blount, getting his attention, then uttered, “How’d you like that ass-whuppin’?”
Blount responded with a right to Hout’s jaw. In the immediate aftermath, Hout was a victim. Now he and the school have some explaining to do. Coach Chris Petersen said his player’s punishment would be handled internally. No suspension.
"Byron's mistake wasn't as extreme as LeGarrette's," Petersen said,
True, but Petersen’s reaction was not good enough. Not even close. Not when Oregon has been public and contrite every step of the way. That includes Blount who, despite his heinous actions, apologized profusely afterward.
There is no punch if Hout doesn’t taunt. Sure, Blount contributed to the atmosphere by saying in the offseason that the Ducks owed Boise “an ass-whuppin’”. But the comment wouldn’t have been made had not two Ducks been taken out by cheap shots in last year’s meetings.
It was a case of he said-he said that almost ended tragically. WAC officials were worried about setting precedent for penalizing a player for merely taunting. Where does it end, they asked? It ends right here. This was literally a once-in-a-lifetime event, an assault that occurred after the game out of the jurisdiction of the officials and, thus, the NCAA as well.
Boise and Petersen have to give us something in terms of a penalty (one-game would be fine). Some remorse would be nice too. We haven’t heard from Hout and probably won’t the rest of the season.
I have some questions that probably won’t be answered.
--What is Hout’s “discipline”? Stadium steps at dawn are a joke.
--Why isn’t that discipline public? Hout was the firestarter in front of millions of people on national television. Boise needs to be more accountable. (More on that below.)
--Because players are limited to 20 hours of athletic-related work per week, any sort of “discipline” would seemingly cut into his game prep. Will Hout miss practice to be “disciplined”?
What we’ve heard from Boise so far is a press release and a lot of crickets chirping. Typical, really. The Boise program is, shall we say, different when it comes to full disclosure. Petersen does not allow opposing media to talk to his players during game week. His quarterback, Kellen Moore, speaks to the media once every two weeks.
For a program that gets so much love nationally it sure does nothing extra to publicize itself. When something bad happens, like now, it makes it easier to question the program.
I’m not the only one with a problem. Oregon AD Mike Bellotti plans to talk to Boise officials on Monday. He is upset that replays of Blount’s punch were shown repeatedly on the Boise video board, possibly inciting the crowd even further.
The WAC and school won’t confirm this but Hout probably was privately reprimanded by the conference. That’s the first penalty stage for a violation of the WAC’s sportsmanship policy.
The school has jurisdiction in situations like this. Commissioner Karl Benson then has the option to accept the penalties or add to it. Obviously, Boise chose to do almost nothing.