Willie Taggart's tenure at Oregon is off to such a rocky start that he's already refusing to speak with a Ducks beat reporter.
The new coach's issue is with Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, after the reporter broke the news of three Ducks players hospitalized following an offseason workout. The story eventually led to the one-month suspension of strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde.
Taggart felt Greif's use of the terms, "grueling" and "akin to military basic training," misrepresented the workout, and contradicted what Taggart had told Greif prior to the article being written.
"When you're not fair and honest, then to me that's personal," Taggart said to Kenny Jacoby of the Daily Emerald. "When you do something that's negative and it's going to be personal, then I won't have shit to do with you."
Greif has stood by his story, and insisted he used the controversial terms after hearing multiple people in the athletic department describe the workouts in that fashion.
"Though the description of the workouts is understandably subjective, ultimately what has never been in doubt is that three Oregon players were hospitalized after the first week of offseason workouts and received treatment for several days," Greif said through correspondence with the Daily Emerald.
Taggart spoke with Greif on the phone prior to the story running, and told the Emerald he "felt good" about the conversation, only to be shocked when reading the piece once it was published. Greif then went on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" to discuss the story the following day.
"'You've got to me shitting me,' was kind of my reaction," Taggart said. "I explained exactly what happened and he didn't report it. The story is out there, and then the next day you go on 'Outside the Lines' and just not only stabbed me but turned the damn knife. He wanted his 5-10 minutes of fame and he got it."
The Oregon program has seen a number of off-field incidents since Taggart took over in December, including the new co-offensive coordinator David Reaves losing his job after just a couple weeks due to a DUI arrest.
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