This is the explanation coach Tyrone Willingham gave this morning regarding tailback J.R. Hasty’s return to the team.
“It simply was a young man and his family who needed just a little time to reflect,” he said. “… I’m kind of patient about certain things – you just kind of wait and talk your way through things, and it worked out where he was able to kind of see and visit with his family and was able to come back. I thought it was the right decision for him to do that.”
We also heard from Hasty.
“We cleared a lot of air up,” he said. “We all spoke about the whole situation. After listening and taking some time to think about I was just like, Well, I don’t want to leave the team – I have a strong relationship with the team and the state – so was just like I’ll grind it out, take care of my mental mistakes and take advantage of the advantage I’ve been given.”
He says he believes he has the same chance to earn time as anyone else: “When my turns come I’ll try to take advantage of that and give them the confidence to trust me during the game they’ll put me in. … Everybody gets their fair shot.”
He will be at practice today, and says he has been welcomed back warmly by his teammates: “I was welcomed back all positive. Everybody seemed like they were real happy – and the coaches as well. I didn’t feel like I was looked down upon or anything. It went pretty good.
Willingham also confirmed that former walkons OT Eric Berglund, LB Josh Gage and WR Charles Hawkins have been awarded scholarships for this season.
Willingham cited them as players who “have really sacrificed to be a part of the program” and “were doing things in the right manner: being a student, having the work ethic and being a citizen that I thought was deserving.”