This is not how Willie Taggart wanted to begin his Oregon tenure.
According to a report from Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, at least three Oregon football players were hospitalized after what were described as “grueling” workouts. A number of other players reportedly passed out during the strength and conditioning drills as well. Oregon’s strength and conditioning coach is Irele Oderinde, who followed Taggart from South Florida.
The report compares the workouts the Oregon players were doing to basic military training. Players reportedly had to do an hour of pushups and up-downs.
Per Greif, offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick all remain in fair condition after the trio was admitted into a hospital late last week.
The mother of one of the players in the hospital said that her son had been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, which in severe cases can lead to kidney damage.
The Oregon athletic department released a statement on the matter.
“The safety and welfare of all of our student-athletes is paramount in all that we do,” the statement said. “While we cannot comment on the health of our individual students, we have implemented modifications as we transition back into full training to prevent further occurrences.
“We thank our medical staff and trainers for their continued monitoring of the students and we will continue to support our young men as they recover.”
Taggart was hired after the program fired Mark Helfrich at the end of the 2016. Helfrich is a disciple of Chip Kelly. On Friday, Taggart hired Alabama tackles and tight ends coach Mario Cristobal to be the team’s co-offensive coordinator.