Oregon Duck football linebacker Anthony Wallace is leaving the team, and I’m happy to hear it. It’s not that I have anything against Wallace. I, in fact, know very little about him. I also recognize that any loss of talent is probably a detriment to the program. What I like about this departure is what it suggests about the current team and its coach.
Athletes often transfer because they aren’t getting the playing time that they had hoped for. Not every athlete gets the time in the starting rotation that they all hope for. The Ducks are strong at linebacker, so Wallace’s transfer shouldn’t be a huge shock. Wallace has contributed, suggesting he has talent, but thirteen tackles in two years also sounds like a lot of special teams work. In the absence of significant playing time, he wants to head back to Texas. I get that.
What I like when I hear of an athlete transfering is the suggestion that Chip Kelly is honest with his athletes. I want a coach who doesn’t string his athletes along with promises of snaps to come. That leads to discontent and a lack of trust. I believe, under the Kelly era, I have seen more transfers than I ever have before. Sometimes it’s cause for concern — like all the exodus of running backs a couple of years ago. But I think these departures lead to more team unity and suggest that Kelly’s players know that they’re being told the truth. See, there is a silver lining to every cloud.
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