The University of Houston football team had one of its biggest wins of the year last night, but you wouldn’t think that from the sports talk today. D’eriq King was injured and is more than likely done for the year. Once again, King’s injury was not the main topic of discussion about the game. The main topic that everyone wants to speak about is a player that did not even play in the game, the great Ed Oliver.
In case you didn’t see the game last night, Oliver put on a jacket that is reserved for active players only. One of the equipment managers confronted him about wearing it. He pulled away to ignore the manager. It was at this point Coach Applewhite got involved. He told Oliver he had to follow the rules, the same as the rest of the players on the sidelines who tried to wear the jackets. Applewhite grabbed the sleeve of the jacket to start removing it from Oliver, before walking away.
That is when all hell broke out. Oliver, in a fury, started cursing, screaming, and acting like he was going to fight Applewhite to the point that he had to be restrained. He never reemerged from the locker room. Applewhite did his best to downplay the incident in the post-game press conference, but the damage was done. Everyone has taken sides on the issue. So here is mine:
Major Applewhite is no Cougar fan’s favorite coach right now. The SMU and Temple games ruined a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl game. He should still be judged fairly. This moment is one that he had no way out without hurting someone. Applewhite may be frustrated by Oliver not playing. I do not believe he was trying to embarrass Ed.
Applewhite probably shouldn’t have grabbed the jacket. He had to intervene, though. Make no mistake: acting was necessary. It wasn’t about the jacket. Ed Oliver disregarding that equipment manager, made him bigger than the team. A head coach can never allow that to happen. Applewhite had to show the rest of the team that even a player as great as Oliver must follow the rules. In truth, I think this will help Major more than it will hurt him in the long run. Teams like to see that the rules apply to everyone. I think that will help in recruiting and rallying the team.
I also want to make clear that I hold no grudges against Ed Oliver. He has been one of the most amazing players that I have ever had the privilege of watching in Scarlet and White. I believe he wants to be playing right now, and that is part of what made him so upset. I would hold no ill will if Ed doesn’t play for UH again. I hope he does, just for selfish reasons. The main thing from here is that Oliver must realize that if he wants to remain on the team, he is subject to the same rules as everyone else.
No matter what happens from here, I hope Oliver and Applewhite can work things out. I do not want Ed Oliver regretting spending his time at our great university.