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Is Honesty the Best Policy?
Last December, Illinois hired Ron Turner as coach largely because of his experience as offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears. But Turner has turned out to be even more offensive than expected: He's not shy about criticizing his players in public.
Early last week he explained that junior quarterback Mark Hoekstra was being benched because of Hoekstra's poor decision-making in throwing two interceptions during a 35-22 loss to Washington State on Sept. 20. "The second one was ridiculous," Turner said to reporters. "He misread the coverage and forced [the ball] in there."
Last Saturday, after senior cornerback Trevor Starghill allowed a 43-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in the first half, which gave Iowa a 24-3 lead en route to a 38-10 win, Turner sat him down for most of the second half. "The end of the first half? It was brutal. It just killed us," Turner said after the game.
To be sure, Turner is as effusive with his praise as he is penetrating in his criticism. But it will be interesting to see how candid he remains as the Illini, losers of 10 straight with No. 2 Penn State on deck, continue to slide. There's no waiver wire in college football. Last week's goat may be next week's only option.
After the way UCLA blew through Arizona 40-27, it should be noted that two of the last three times the Bruins went to the Rose Bowl they lost their opener. UCLA started this season 0-2 but has now won consecutive games for the first time in two years....
The National Football Foundation announced that Grambling State legend Eddie Robinson will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. The Foundation will waive the usual three-year waiting period for coaches....
Hayden Fry of Iowa will coach his 402nd Division I-A game on Saturday, tying him with Jess Neely for fourth place on the alltime list behind Amos Alonzo Stagg (548), Pop Warner (457) and Bear Bryant (425). Fry's first victory, in 1962 with SMU, came against Neely and Rice 15-7....
Speaking of experience, the four youngest coaches paired off last week: Colorado's Rick Neuheisel, 36, edged Wyoming's Dana Dimel, 34, 20-19, while Louisville's Ron Cooper, 36, lost to Oklahoma's John Blake, 36, 35-14....