Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well Merry Christmas To You Too, Ron | by Jay

As Pat mentioned below, Ron Talley landed with the Blue Hens of Delaware. Seems like a random destination; the key for Talley was immediate playing time at a position he preferred, and by joining a Division 1-AA school he won't have to sit out a year.

When Talley left ND back in October, it was an outwardly amicable (if puzzling) departure, with both Talley and Weis saying the decision was mutally agreeable. "He's not thrown off the team. He just doesn't want to be part of it anymore. I wish him well," said Charlie at the time.

Tuesday, Talley filled in some blanks, and took a few shots at the Irish coaching staff in the process (quotes collected by UHND):

Talley left Notre Dame, in part, because of a verbal disagreement with Weis about his role on the team. Talley said the coaches expressed a desire to move him from end to tackle. ‘’Basically, I lost trust in them,'’ Talley said. ‘’They wanted to do things with me to their advantage, not my advantage.'’ (Chicago Sun Times)

“Some things were going on that were unjustified,” said Talley, who was also considering transferring to Tennessee State. “I really just couldn’t trust the coaches any more.” (Central Delaware News)

“It seemed like the coaching staff would tell me one thing and then another,” he said. “The situation they wanted to put me in wasn’t in my best interests. It was only in their best interests. In the end, I really couldn’t trust them. It was enough for me not to want to be there anymore.” (South Bend Tribune)

One poster over on NDN mentioned that this sounded a lot like what some former Patriots players who washed out of Belichick's system have said, complaining about position switches and unhappy with coaches jerking them around.

Two reactions. First of all, let's not begrudge Talley his reluctance to switch positions. I don't really understand his reasoning here (given the dearth of bodies at DT, he was being offered more playing time and a greater role on the team, and for a guy of his limited speed it seems like a natural move) but ultimately it's his decision and his preference. It would have been nice for him to put the team's needs ahead of his own, but if he's ultimately not going to be happy making the switch then he made the right decision to get out. Sometimes a position move is accepted gracefully (Travis Thomas, or Darrin Bragg, for instance) and sometimes it means the player's going to end up searching for greener pastures (David Wolke, who was offered a spot at backup running back when the QB depth chart filled up). That's fine; that's all natural fallout of reconstituting a football roster from year to year.

If it only were so simple for Ron Talley. Obviously there's more going on here (in his mind, at least) than simply rejecting a switch to DT. Whatever problems he had with the coaching staff -- and I think it's safe to say we're getting less than half the story here -- it's poor form to pop off to the press about it. Moreover, it's just colossally dumb. Any goodwill that still existed -- goodwill that may have generated say, a positive reference to an NFL scout, or an invitation to come back and finish a degree somewhere down the line -- is now gone.

How should Charlie react to this? We know he doesn't shy away from a public challenge, especially one that could negatively impact recruiting (see: Hiben, Joey and Cumbie, Jamie). Don't be surprised to see a statement from Weis "clarifying" the situation from ND's point of view.