Monday afternoon, rumors began to swirl in cyberspace about Oregon's junior cornerback Cliff Harris and another driving violation. A few hours later, the University of Oregon issued this press release:
University of Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris has been suspended from the Ducks' football program pending a further review of a traffic stop that occurred Monday afternoon in Eugene, according to the Ducks' Head Coach Chip Kelly.
The suspension will include a complete prohibition from all football activities until the matter is resolved.
The Fresno, Calif., junior had been credited with nine tackles in six games this season after missing the season-opening loss to LSU while serving an indefinite suspension. In addition, Harris had intercepted one pass against Arizona State while deflecting five passes, and had returned nine punts for 68 yards (7.6 avg.).
The 2010 consensus All-America defensive back and punt returner led the nation with 23 passes broken up a year ago and finished second in the country in punt returns with an 18.8-yard average.
Analysis: In general, Chip Kelly handles player off-field issues with an action plan for the player, targeted at improving his areas of deficiency. This being Harris' second suspension this year, both involving motor vehicles and judgment, the path to the playing field for the Fresno, California junior will be difficult.
Cornerback play without Harris has been quite good. With senior Anthony Gildon leading the way, Sacramento RFr Terrance Mitchell and Youngstown, Ohio RFr Troy Hill have been playing extensive, quality minutes, earning praise from defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti and Chip Kelly alike.
Oregon's next game is at home against the Washington State Cougars at 12:00 noon Saturday.