The controversy that won't die might have been laid to rest after Saturday's loss by the California Golden Bears to the Oregon Ducks. Cal head coach Jeff Tedford and athletic director Sandy Barbour confirmed that the Cal defensive line coach was not present for today's game.
"This is a young coach who made a mistake. We make mistakes in life a lot," Barbour said. "He stood up and he accepted responsibility for it. The head coach accepted responsibility for it and I accepted responsibility for it. That's what we do as educators."
"I respect him a great deal," Tedford said. "In the heat of the battle and trying to get a substitution in, he used poor judgment. That's no reflection on his character whatsoever or his love for Cal and the program. ... He's a great football coach. A mistake was made. I'm sure we'll learn from it as a whole. We will make sure that we stand for the right things and move forward."
But the question is, did Lupoi really act alone? Or is this just the loyal soldier falling on his sword?
It'd be hard to believe that Lupoi could really be capable of enacting this strategy on his own. Tedford oversees most of the program and should have caught wind of this in the team meetings. It would be pretty sad if Tedford really had no idea this was going to happen. I'm guessing Lupoi was fine with being the scapegoat in this one.
On the other hand, Tedford has generally been an honorable figure in sports, and it's quite possible he nixed Lupoi's possible strategy. Then Lupoi went ahead with it anyway and thus earned his suspension. This seems like the most likely chain of events. Tedford seems to have made the right decision in suspending his talented coordinator/recruiter and protecting the integrity of the program from the national media assault.
Either way, a somewhat embarrassing chapter in Cal football now ends. Back to the current and more pressing concerns about the Golden Bears missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 2002...