[SCENE: The offices of Oregon football, in disarray after a series of scandals threatened the program in the early days of Willie Taggart’s tenure as the Ducks’ new head coach. Taggart and athletic director Rob Mullens sit, despondent.]
TAGGART: What the heck is going on here, Rob?
MULLENS: It’s a mess, Willie. A total mess.
TAGGART: I just don’t understand. I never had these sort of problems at Western Kentucky or South Florida. Ran smooth, successful programs. No issues like this.
MULLENS: I know, that’s a big part of why I hired you.
TAGGART: But first, we have players develop rhabdomyolysis after my strength & conditioning coach subjected them to “grueling, military-style workouts”.
TAGGART: Then my co-offensive coordinator, David Reaves, is arrested for DUI.
TAGGART: My other co-offensive coordinator, Mario Cristobal, was arrested going through customs with a suitcase full of pirated Blu-Rays of “Reba”.
MULLENS: Now, he says Lane Kiffin set him up, and I believe him.
TAGGART: Our new alternate uniforms contained a chemical that badly burned players while modeling them for the press.
MULLENS: In retrospect, “Glow In The Daytime” was an overreach, and Phil concedes that.
TAGGART: Running backs coach Donte Pimpleton -
MULLENS: Wait, did something happen with him?
TAGGART: No, I just like saying his name. Pimpleton. [chuckles]
TAGGART: The Puddles the Duck costume was revealed to be filled not by a student, but rather a number of missing household pets.
MULLENS: That one’s on me, I knew we were doing that.
TAGGART: Our biggest assistant hire, Jim Leavitt, was mauled by an ostrich.
MULLENS: He thought he could bring over a form of the Ralphie Run tradition from Colorado. I tried to tell him: ostriches aren’t giant ducks, and you should give its egg back, but he just wouldn’t hear it.
TAGGART: I just don’t know what’s going on, Rob.
MULLENS: How do you think I feel? I’ve been helming a hugely successful program for years. When Chip Kelly left, we kept continuity with Mark Helfrich, and it seemed seamless - he took us to a national title game, for heaven’s sake! And then this year it just all fell apart.
TAGGART: It’s like we’re cursed.
MULLENS: It’s funny you bring that up, because I had the exact same thought. So I hired someone to come check things out. He’s got a reputation for coming in when things seem completely cursed.
TAGGART: Is it a priest?
MULLENS: Not... exactly.
[the office door rattles, as though someone has just run into it]
MULLENS: [sighing] Pull, not push.
[door swings open]
JOHN L. SMITH: HOW’S EVERYBODY DOIN’ TODAY?
MULLENS: Ah, John, good. I’m glad you’re here. We know you’ve got experience in cleaning up messy situations.
SMITH: Aw, sure thing, pal. I’ll get to the root of this and sort things out. You know, I might not have had the best record at Arkansas, but I did get rid of a bunch of Petrino’s messes. By the time I was done, no one even knew he was responsible for the crash.
TAGGART: Uh, John, everyone knew he was responsible for that motorcycle crash.
SMITH: No, I mean the financial crash.
MULLENS: See? This guy’s the best, Willie.
SMITH: Anyways, I hear you’ve got some nasty hullabaloo goin’ on around here, and I’ll find what’s troubling you. [he pulls out a crucifix and Bible, and his eyes glaze over as he begins speaking in tongues]
TAGGART: I thought you said he wasn’t a priest.
SMITH: [still glazed over] oh, I’m not
TAGGART: Rob, are you sure this is going to be the solution to our-
SMITH: [snapping out of trance] Alright, I’ve got it, there’s a gypsy curse on your defensive coordinator, it’s permeating the whole building.
TAGGART: But that doesn't make any sense, Jim’s not even here. He’s in the hospital recovering from his ostrich wounds.
SMITH: Well, heck, ya got me, buddy, I’m just tellin’ you what the spirits say.
MULLENS: Wait... I think I might know what’s going on here.
[they head to the basement]
BRADY HOKE: [arm stuck in vending machine] OH HEY GUYS I’m sure glad you found me, I was starting to think I was in real trouble.
MULLENS: Good lord, Brady, have you been down here since Thanksgiving?
HOKE: I think it was around Halloween, actually. I remember eating a lot of candy that day. More than usual.
MULLENS: Brady, we had four games after Halloween, weren’t you with the team?
HOKE: No, did no one notice I was gone?
[long awkward silence]
SMITH: Hey, listen, buddy, my contacts in the realm of shadows are tellin’ me you mighta had some beef with a gypsy, you know anything about that?
HOKE: Oh, no, [laughs nervously] nothing of that sort, no sir.
SMITH: [holding finger to ear] They’re sayin’ some such about a stolen hot dog cart and a sacred burial ground?
HOKE: [hangs head] I...
MULLENS: C’mon, Brady. Let’s get you home.
HOKE: Can you help me get my Bugles first?
TAGGART: There aren’t any Bugles in the machine, Brady.
HOKE: [quietly] I know.