Holtz Lays Down the Law

by Billy Weaver

Hats off to new East Carolina head coach Skip Holtz for laying down the law!

Earlier this week Holtz announced the suspension of Jamar Flournoy, East Carolina's third-leading tackler a year ago, for what Holtz called "a violation of team rules." By now most of you have heard or read somewhere that Flournoy was recently charged with public intoxication and possession of an open alcohol container. Coach Holtz would not confirm that Flournoy was suspended because of these charges and I refuse to assume what would seem to be the obvious. With that said, Flournoy did break team rules and he's paying dearly. "He is not going to play this year, he's not going to dress, he's not going to travel, he will not step on the field this year, said Holtz. I do expect him to be at practice every day this year as a Scout Team  player for us."

As if the suspension wasn't enough of a message, Holtz gave Flournoy the option of mending broken fences by redshirting the senior and keeping him on the Scout Team for the entire season. This accomplishes a number of things. First and foremost it gives Flournoy a much deserved second chance. The senior transfer kept his nose clean before now and who's to say it he didn't make a poor decision that will never be repeated. Secondly, the sight of Flournoy practicing with the scout team everyday serves as a constant reminder to every player on the team what can happen if you break the rules. Absolutely brilliant on the part of Holtz!

Holtz made no apologies for his stern actions with Flournoy and rightfully so. As a first year head coach entering a program that has fallen from national prominence, Holtz had to make a statement. I guarantee you that every member of this year's football team will have Jamar Flournoy in the back of his mind every time he steps foot inside an establishment in downtown Greenville.

Flournoy did practice with the Scout Team on Thursday but would not speak to reporters following team drills. Skip Holtz did paraphrase to WITN-TV what was said by Flournoy in a meeting between the two on Wednesday. "I made a mistake, I let down my teammates, I let down my coaches, I feel bad about what I did and I just want to be a part of  this program and anything I need to do to turn and help this football team win I'll be more than happy to do."

Comments like that from Division One college football players these days is almost unheard of. "I was very proud of his maturity and the way he handled the entire situation, said Holtz. He didn't try to pass the buck, he accepted the blame, he understands he made a mistake and this is what he's going to have to do to redeem himself to put himself back in this program in a positive light."

The bottom line is that football is a game of discipline and respect. If a head coach lacks either, he's done! Holtz gets my respect and while I believe Jamar Flournoy made a big mistake he gets even more respect for not only standing up and taking responsibility for his actions, but  agreeing to do whatever it takes to regain the respect of his coaches and teammates.

Mark my words. This incident will have a ripple effect throughout the next couple of years. Players don't forget!

Billy Weaver