Willie Taggart said it was overexcited players, not specific workouts, that led to the hospitalization of three Oregon football players in January.
The new Ducks coach said his programs have been using the same workouts for years, and it wouldn't make sense for players to now suddenly be terribly affected.
“We know we didn’t do anything to try to hurt our kids. We’d done [the same program] everywhere we’ve been and never had a problem,” Taggart said, via Fox Sports. “I think our guys just overworked themselves and didn’t hydrate. … They were trying to impress the new coaches.”
After a workout session, offensive linemen Doug Brenner and Sam Poutasi and tight end Cam McCormick were all hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the blood.
Oregon endured a 4-8 season in 2016, a far cry from their Rose Bowl run in 2015. It also contributed to the firing of Mark Helfrich and the hiring of Taggart last year.
Combined with the firing of brand new co-offensive coordinator David Reaves for a drunk driving arrest, Taggart's start with the Ducks has been rough.
“You’re like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Taggart said. “You know you’re going to have some adversity, but you don’t expect it to happen that quickly.”