Syracuse wide receiver Jarrod West was arrested and charged with underage drinking on Friday night in his hometown of Bethlehem, PA. Two other men who were with West were also arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. One of those arrested was West‚Äôs former Liberty High School teammate and current Pitt quarterback Anthony Gonzalez.
New Pitt coach Todd Graham acted swiftly and harshly, suspending Gonzalez indefinitely. As far as West’s situation at SU, Doug Marrone would offer only this statement, through the school‚Äôs athletic office:
‚ÄúWe are aware of the situation, and will continue to deal with the matter privately.‚Äù
Not a lot of insight, but what did we expect? The good news is at the moment, it doesn’t appear a suspension will be coming Jarrod‚Äôs way. Nor should one. This is only West‚Äôs first strike, and a college kid drinking alcohol doesn‚Äôt exactly seem like a serious offense. But Marrone has been known to put his foot down in disciplinary situations (maybe even a little too hard). So the question becomes, what will be The Dougie‚Äôs reaction to this situation?
It‚Äôs a pretty safe assumption based on the way Marrone has run his program that West will face some sort of consequence. Not surprisingly that consequence will probably be private, and could be as simple as the running extra stadium stairs. On the other end of the spectrum, it could be serious enough to affect West‚Äôs standing on the team heading into next season.
The redshirt freshman missed all of last year with a foot injury he suffered in preseason camp, and still sits on the fringe of significant playing time next year. West was second on The Fizz‚Äôs spring depth chart, and caught three passes for 43 yards in the Spring Game. He‚Äôs very talented, with the size and hands to be a reliable possession receiver as well as the raw athleticism to stretch defenses down the field.
However, Marrone places every bit as much emphasis on discipline and character as speed and jumping ability, and West just picked up a black mark with this arrest. There‚Äôs no way of knowing for sure how this affects West‚Äôs standing on the team, but it’s not a stretch to say it doesn‚Äôt help. West has the talent to make a significant contribution to the Orange passing game next fall, but he has to be on the field to do so. One cardinal rule for a player trying to crack the lineup in any sport is ‚Äúdon‚Äôt tick off the coach,‚Äù and while this isn‚Äôt a major violation, it couldn‚Äôt have made the boss happy.
A coach‚Äôs doghouse can be a dark place, and a difficult one to work your way out of. So did West just land in his coach‚Äôs doghouse? Marrone will never tell, but we could get our answer when camp opens this summer.
Posted: Steve Neikam