By Chadd Cripe
Boise State sophomore defensive end Byron Hout probably won’t miss any game time because of his actions at the end of Thursday night’s game against Oregon, Broncos coach Chris Petersen said Friday morning.
Petersen will discipline Hout internally, he said. They met after the game and are scheduled to meet again today.
Hout said something to Blount and tapped him on the shoulder pads during the postgame handshakes. Blount responded with a punch to Hout’s jaw.
“We’re not good with it,” Petersen said. “It always takes two to tangle. Those are things we preach about every day around here. We just need to keep our mouths closed … and let our play speak for itself.
“I’m sure (Blount) would give his right arm to take that whole thing back, how it looks. Byron’s mistake wasn’t as extreme as LeGarrette’s, but he was still wrong.”
ESPN analyst Robert Smith, a former NFL star, said of Hout: “His was a classless act as well. You need to lose with class, you need to win with class. He shouldn’t have gone after him, but that does not excuse what LeGarrette Blount did.”
Hout physically is OK, Petersen said. The Broncos don’t have any intention of filing a criminal complaint, Petersen said — the action required for the Boise Police to pursue the matter, according to spokeswoman Lynn Hightower.
Petersen doesn’t know what Hout said to Blount, he said. Petersen was right in the middle of the action and immediately admonished Hout — telling him that there was no need for trash talk after the game.
“Why would you say anything?” Petersen said of his conversation with Hout. “We just played a great big game on defense. It was a hard-fought, physical battle. I’d hope that we’d be above those types of things.”
Usually, Petersen said, the postgame mixing of players on the field is friendly.
“I think it’s usually 99 percent positive,” he said. “I always see tremendous respect for each side.”
The incident overshadowed the Broncos’ big win. Last year, they beat Oregon and a couple of late hits dominated the conversation.
Petersen said he talked to his friends on the Oregon staff after the game and the coaches exchanged apologies.
“We don’t want that to be a part of the game,” he said.
As for Blount, ESPN.com reports that the Pac-10 will decide his fate. On Thursday night, Oregon seemed to think it would have the final say because it was a postgame incident. The NCAA rules don’t appear to address postgame incidents.
The ESPN.com report says Blount said one fan “brandished a chair at him and another punched him.” Blount went after the fans on his way to the locker room and had to be nearly dragged off the field.
Earlier in the game, Blount took a cheap shot at a Boise State defender. And during the postgame melee, he hit one of his teammates in the face and shoved Boise State strength coach Tim Socha.
ESPN's Todd McShay reported that an NFL team's college scouting director told him, "In the matter of five minutes, Blount just went from second- or third-rounder to completely undraftable."
“It’s just a disgusting display by LeGarrette Blount,” Smith said. “… There has to be some kind of suspension, a multiple-game suspension. You have to send a strong message.”
Ironically, Blount’s actions came on a weekend when teams are holding pregame handshakes as part of a national sportsmanship initiative. Blount participated in those handshakes Thursday.
The handshake initiative is sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association and NCAA.
"This case points out that we still need to have a commitment to sportsmanship and respect," AFCA executive director Grant Teaff told ESPN's Joe Schad. "It was sad as I watched [the events in Boise], but the good news is nobody joined in. That would have been a brawl back in the day. This was one player who was frustrated and infuriated and lost control.”
Hout was not available for comment Friday. Players aren’t available to the media again until Tuesday.
Here's our other Blount coverage:
Petersen made a telephone appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning.
He was told that Smith, the ESPN analyst, said he would be “stunned” if the Broncos don’t go undefeated and play in a Bowl Championship Series game.
Petersen’s response: “I would say maybe I would be stunned if we do — just because it’s so much harder to do that than to not do that. Everybody just takes those things for granted. I know the bull’s-eye that’s on our chest. … Everybody knows that just special things have to happen in order to have a great season like that, so we’re not even kind of looking that far ahead. We’re really not. And we’re not going to until this season is over.”
The Broncos have gone undefeated in three of the past five regular seasons, including last year. They have not done it in back-to-back seasons yet.
Earlier in SportsCenter, in the “Blog Buzz” segment, it was revealed that Blount’s punch is the most blogged-about topic in sports right now.