Oregon's Colt Lyerla Upset with How Mark Helfrich Handled TE's Absence vs. Vols

Jeff BellCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2013

Oregon's star tight end Colt Lyerla isn't very happy with head coach Mark Helfrich, according to this report by Jason Quick of The Oregonian.

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 17th, at 11:35 a.m. P.T.

Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian says things have been worked out between Helfrich and Lyerla.

--End of Update--

Lyerla missed Saturday's game against Tennessee for what he says was an illness.

Coach Helfrich, when asked about the tight end's status following the 59-14 victory, however, declined to elaborate on the situation, citing "circumstances" as the reason for his absence.

When pressed, Helfrich refused to shed any light.

“Circumstances is extremely specific,’’ Helfrich said with a smile. “That’s one word.’’

This led to speculation from Quick and many others about the real reason for Lyerla's absence. In 2012, he was held out of nine summer practices for what the team described as "personal issues."

Quick admits that he even jumped to conclusions a little prematurely yesterday, wondering if some of those issues had resurfaced.

It was this reaction that caused Lyerla to be upset with his head coach. Why wouldn't Helfrich admit the real reason behind Lyerla sitting out the game?

"I’m really upset with the way coach Helfrich said that after the game,’’ Lyerla said Sunday. “Really disappointed. I feel hurt about this. I watched a little bit of what he said, then started reading all of it, and ... it was unfair.’’

Instead of telling the media that Lyerla had an illness which prevented him from playing, Helfrich inadvertently caused speculation that a more serious issue had arisen.

But Rob Moseley, editor of GoDucks.com and former beat writer for the Register Guard, thinks Helfrich was simply being consistent with his terminology used to describe player absences.

All of this comes off the heels of one of Lyerla's more forgettable games. Against Virginia, the tight end dropped three passes, although he was a major part of the blocking on several touchdown runs.

Because the Ducks have a bye next Saturday, the team won't practice until Tuesday, although Helfrich will still meet with reporters today at 5 p.m. for a regularly scheduled teleconference.

As to how the issue will be resolved when the team reconvenes? Lyerla isn't entirely sure.

“I don’t know how to react,’’ Lyerla said. “I’m just going to show up on Tuesday and work, and hopefully all of it will work itself out.’’