If LeGarrette Blount had been reinstated before Oregon faced Stanford and played just one play, we would have had two fewer weeks of drama, media speculation and coach Chip Kelly quibbling with reporters.
If Blount had, after being reinstated before Oregon faced Arizona State, played just one play, we would have had one fewer week of drama, media speculation and Kelly quibbling with reporters.
To me, personally, that would be a great loss. I like drama, media speculation and Kelly quibbling with reporters.
But opinions vary on whether this is the best way to handle this on-going situation, as this thoughtful column from George Schroeder points out.
Some of you might wonder what the heck Kelly is doing. By not playing Blount in the blowout win over the Sun Devils -- and playing every other back on the roster -- he ensured that the story will hang over this weekend's big game at Arizona.
And hey! ESPN's GameDay will be in town. Think those guys might bring this up?
It's not hard to see what Kelly is doing. He's telling Blount, his team, fans and reporters: This is my team. I make the call. I won't bow to outside or even inside pressure.
It might have been easier to play Blount, but Kelly, to this point, believes it's more valuable for his program to not play him. He likes the message that sends.
What's that message?
That this is a team, first and foremost. We have four running backs who didn't punch a guy after the Boise State game, who have busted the butts in practice since preseason workouts began in August. They have priority. Blount will have to earn his way onto the field. He didn't do that his first week back. We are not going to alter our system of competition and merit for P.R. purposes.
That thinking is another test of Blount's "rehabilitation." That thinking, by the way, probably sits well in the locker room. Here's a guess that Remene Alston, the No. 4 running back, appreciates it.
There also is an interesting tension here between the operation of a public university being kept quiet vs. a student-athlete's privacy rights. But that's nothing new.
Reporters should continue to hound Kelly with redundant questions about Blount. That's their job. Some Ducks fans might think reporters are nosy jerks, but without nosy jerks there is no accountability in our society.
And Kelly should continue to run his program his way.
"This isn't a football decision," Kelly has said 213 times.
No, it's a Kelly decision, and he doesn't care if you like it or not.