Before practice today, redshirt freshman, Tacoi Sumler, spent time with head coach Chip Kelly to discuss a transfer to play closer to home immediately with a lower-division school.
“We had a good conversation,” said Kelly in a video interview with The Oregonian after Wednesday’s practice. “He’d like to get back closer to home. He’s going to drop down a division and look at some (Division I FCS) schools.”
Even though Sumler would have had three seasons to play if he transferred to a different Division I FBS school after sitting out this year, it sounds as if the wide receiver wanted to play immediately this season back near his home in Miami, Florida. Kelly didn’t see the transfer coming, but “there’s nothing that surprises (him) in this game” and he would “like to get another guy in” practice to replace Sumler.
“Not everyone can play when you have 85 kids on scholarships,” Kelly said. “We’re only allowed to travel 70, so at some point and time they have to understand there role. It happens, I think it happens in a lot of places. [They're thinking,] ‘If I’m not playing, I think I should go somewhere else.’ We told him we’d help him anyway we can.”
There are plenty of players in the wide receiver position at camp, but a real worry comes from the overall lack of experience in the depth.
“I think we have 15-16 [wide receivers] in camp,” Kelly said. “But in terms of returners, the only players that have played a ton out there are Josh (Huff) and Daryle (Hawkins).”
It’s hard to speculate exactly on Sumler’s decision, but even if it was the anticipation of not receiving much playoff time, the athlete wanted to help a team without losing a year of eligibility.
Other news from the fall camp
- Pads have now been given to the players to practice in, but the head coach reiterated that this isn’t a time to start being rough with each other.
“We still don’t want people on the ground,” said Kelly in the same interview, “that’s when injuries occur. We’re not cut-blocking away, we’re not leaving our feet to make a tackle. So [after] our first day in shoulder pads, I thought we did a really good job.”
- Kelly wouldn’t speculate on sophomore tight end Colt Lyeria’s absense from practices with the exception of “needing to take care of a few things” and “(expecting) him back soon” in an earlier interview. The depth chart at tight end is rather weak with David Paulson graduating and redshirt freshman Christian French transitioning to defensive end.