LeGarrette Blount Reinstated, Could Be Key To Oregon Making Rose Bowl

LeGarrette Blount will no longer be confined to the practice field -- Oregon has reinstated the running back after he missed seven games for punching a Boise State player following the team's Week 1 loss. He will be available for Saturday night's game against Arizona State.

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Addicted To Quack: Blount Key To Ducks' Rose Bowl Bid

So much talk about LeGarrette Blount, and almost none of it about, well, football. But Addicted To Quack aptly explains why the loss to Stanford revealed that it is on the field where Blount’s reinstatement will have the greatest impact:

[I]t wasn’t just Oregon’s defense that struggled to match Stanford’s physical play. Oregon failed to convert on 3rd down seven of 13 times… It’s clear the only weak link for an offense that has few weaknesses is a big, physical back, in the same vain as Gerhart, who can be relied on to move the chains in short yardage situations.

Had Oregon had a big physical back to counter Stanford’s style, the outcome might have been very different.

Case in point: At the end of the third quarter with the Ducks trailing 45-28, Oregon faced a 4th-and-3 at Stanford’s 39-yard-line. In what appeared to be a blown play, Masoli was tackled for a one-yard loss, and Stanford took over on their own 40. Seven plays later, Cardinal kicker Nate Whitaker kicked a 41-yard field goal that turned out to be the difference for Stanford.

Blount might have made a difference in the same scenario. In fact, considering Oregon was trying to control the clock on that drive (that 4th-and-three was the seventh straight rushing play) to give its defense a break, Blount is likely the perfect back for that scenario. The power back that Oregon’s missed at certain points in the season.

Notwithstanding the Ducks’ 51-42 loss to Stanford, they control their own destiny down the stretch, where wins in the season’s final three games would clinch Oregon its first Rose Bowl berth since 1995. It is in these key games, Addicted To Quack argues, that LeGarrette Blount might make all the difference:

[W]ith games against Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon State left on the schedule and a Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl berth hanging in the balance, the timing for Blount’s return is as good as any. Why? Because all three of Oregon’s remaining opponents rank in the nation’s top 15 in rushing defense (No. 6, No. 10, and No. 15, respectively). And all three are far more physical than most of the defense’s we’ve faced this season. And all three will likely have watched the game against Stanford.
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LeGarrette Blount Reinstated

Joe Schad has just tweeted thusly … more info to follow:

Blounttweet_medium

You maybe recall over a month ago (if you don't, simply scroll down this page) when Oregon coach Chip Kelly publicly stated that Blount would be eligible for reinstatement following their game against Stanford. It seems Blount met whatever expectations were set forth by Kelly and the school. Oregon has three regular season games remaining, followed by a bowl appearance. Their next challenge is Arizona State at home this Saturday night.

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Chip Kelly Press Conference: Blount Can Return, But Not Before Stanford Game

Oregon coach Chip Kelly announced today that suspended RB LeGarrette Blount can return to the Oregon football team, but only if he meets a series of “laddered expectations,” and not before the November 7th game against Stanford.

Kelly’s own words on the situation:

“He has a rigid set of conditions he must live up to and there are certainly no guarantees in place. This merely provides him the opportunity for my reconsideration in the future should he meet those demands.”

Kelly met with many experts and consulted with outsiders in the decision, including America’s new Athlete Rehabilitation Czar, Tony Dungy, who urged Kelly to give Blount another chance with the proper conditions. Blount has signed a contract agreeing to the terms he is to live under if he wants to play, and any violation thereof means getting the immediate and final boot from his spot in Eugene.

If he does return for the Stanford game, Blount will have served a seven game suspension, missing over half of his final year in Eugene and severely denting his NFL draft stock with every team in the NFL except the Bengals.

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