Erickson agrees with angry OSU recruit
- Kerry Eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Ryan Gunderson lashed out at Dennis Erickson last weekend, and the former Oregon State coach says he can't blame him.
Gunderson, the Central Catholic quarterback who signed a letter of intent less than a week before Erickson left to take over the San Francisco 49ers, told the Bloomberg News that Erickson misled recruits by telling them he planned to stay at OSU.
'He told us he had already had a taste of the NFL, and he didn't really like it,' Gunderson said. 'He said he could see himself retiring at Oregon State and that he planned on being there throughout our time there.'
'That probably is what I said. I don't blame Ryan for saying what he said. If I were him, I would probably feel the same way. He ripped me, and maybe he should. I will take it because he's a great kid.
'When I told the kids that, I believed it. I believed I was going to stay there forever. I didn't plan on leaving Oregon State. I was very, very happy there. I didn't plan on going back to the NFL. When the situation came up with the 49ers, it was too hard to turn down. Those things happen in life.
'I feel for those kids, without question. I'm not justifying anything. I feel bad about it. When I told them I could have stayed there forever, I probably could have. I would have never left for a college job. There aren't many pro jobs I'd have gone for, either. Probably none of them except this one.
'But I hope those kids can also look at my side of it. The Oregon State program is on very solid ground, and those kids are going to have a great experience, and they'll have a lot of success. They are going to have a good coach, and I can feel good about that.'
Gunderson says it's water under the bridge.
'Whatever his explanation is, it really doesn't matter now,' he said Sunday. 'I'm focusing on the future.'
• Shhh! Nobody tell Patrick Wu, the 310-pound offensive lineman from Plano, Texas, who faxed in his letter of intent to OSU last Saturday, that Erickson won't be the coach of the Beavers next season. With some parental guidance, Wu had committed to Navy, but he evidently had a change of heart.
• Perry Tindle, a Portland second-grader who is a big fan of Oregon's basketball team, was waiting with ball in hand for autographs after the Ducks' loss to California. Perry got several players but not his two heroes Ñ Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson, who had wandered out a back exit.
Lucky for Perry, who was wearing a Ridnour jersey, that a woman overheard him say he was disappointed. She introduced herself as Luke Jackson's mother, Kathi.
'I'm on my way to their house,' she told Perry. 'If you'll give me your ball and pen, I'll see if I can get the ball signed.'
Perry's father, Matt Tindle, gave Kathi his cell phone number, and the Tindles headed out for a pizza. Fifteen minutes later, they got a call telling them to stay where they were. Fifteen more minutes and in walked Jackson's father, Steve, with a ball signed by the two Lukes and their roommate, center Jay Anderson.
'Perry was thrilled, and so was I,' Matt Tindle says. 'It tells you a lot about the kind of people the Jacksons are. Their son has a couple of fans for life.'
• When Peter Jacobsen made the cut at the Bob Hope Desert Classic two weeks ago, it was for the 22nd time, a tournament record. Of all entrants in the event Ñ which annually draws the best players in the world Ñ the Portland golfer has made the cut more than anybody.
'It's a great feeling,' says Jacobsen, 48. 'There are two aspects to playing pro golf: Winning money and tournaments Ñ but also longevity. I have been out there for a long time, and I'm proud of it.'
Jacobsen, one of the most charismatic and entertaining players on tour, has the right attitude about playing in pro-ams.
'I have three amateurs with me, and it's my job first and foremost to make sure each of those three players has the best day he's ever going to have on a golf course,' he says. 'That's my perspective, probably not shared by a lot of players.'
Jacobsen feels so strongly that he wishes the PGA would require players to compete in the Hope and at Pebble Beach since 'you have a chance to rub elbows with the corporate CEOs,' he says. 'A lot of players need a refresher course in how important the amateur involvement is.'