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THE DUCKSORCIST

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ALTERNATE TITLE: WILLIE TAGGART’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

NCAA Football: Oregon at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

[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”.

MULLENS: Uh-huh.

TAGGART: Then my co-offensive coordinator, David Reaves, is arrested for DUI.

MULLENS: Yep.

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]

MULLENS: Heh.

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.