Posted by Tom Fornelli
Barney Graff had been the head trainer for the Oregon State football team since 1997, when Mike Riley first came to Corvallis and brought him into the program. Now, after 14 years with the school, Riley dismissed his trainer amid questions and complaints about his performance. In a nutshell, Oregon State football players just weren't sure they could trust him, and had been letting Riley know that for the last couple of seasons.
"I think I can say we're just going a different direction with this medical situation," Riley told The Oregonian. "We're going to have new leadership, and a new culture."
That new culture being one where the players have confidence in what the trainer is telling them. While Riley wouldn't throw his former trainer under the bus publically and go into any further detail, according to the report, there had been quite a few complaints about Graff at Oregon State for a while. The first came in 2005 when outside linebacker Andy Darkins had to give up his football career after playing a number of games with a torn right biceps.
There were also the shoulder problems of quarterbacks Sean Canfield, Lyle Moevao and running back Jacquizz Rodgers. There is also the shattered knee of James Rodgers. Now, obviously, there's no way to really know that Graff deserves any of the blame for these or any injuries that have been suffered at Oregon State. I don't care how great of a trainer you are, football is a sport in which people are going to get hurt. That being said, if the players don't trust your trainer, and they're not being quiet about it, then you just don't have a choice. You have to replace him. Because if they don't trust the trainer and you keep him around then eventually they're not going to trust you, and if you can't earn your player's trust, then good luck getting them to buy into what you're trying to do with the program.
So regardless of Graff's abilities as a head trainer, this is just a move that Riley and Oregon State had to make.