This might take a bit of time to unpack. We were told by head coach Kliff Kingsbury last week that CB Nigel Bethel II is focusing on academics this spring. He’s still eligible, but not practicing with the team and focusing on the academics. There have also been rumors that Bethel got into a scuffle with WR Derrick Willies and QB Nik Shimonek (see the comments of that linked post) possibly leading up to this situation.
In yesterday’s edition of TechTalk, Aaron Dickens and Will McKay both opined that they could envision a situation where Bethel will not be back with the team, almost sounding very confident that this is the likely scenario. They mentioned that Bethel is actually running with the track team and that if Bethel is really focusing on academics, then why would he be running track?
WR Devin Lauderdale, who is also currently away from the team, tweeted in response to RaiderPower discussing Bethel, “He coming back just sit back & chill.” A follow up tweet said “Media make things worse than what it really be..chill lol ..”
That’s the best summary I can do. I should make it clear that I’m in the dark about the entire situation other than reading and listening to what others have said about the situation. I’m concerned about a few things.
- Bethel is running with the track team, but he’s not playing football. That’s an odd situation, to say the least and one where I struggle to figure out what’s going on. I don’t know if this is a situation where the differences in personality are such that the cavern between the football coaches and track coaches are significantly different? For the track coaches, he’s not in hot enough water to push him away from running track.
- I also don’t know what to make of Lauderdale and I think I’m officially torn between what Dickens and McCay said versus what Lauderdale is saying. I honestly believe both of them, but if you were asking me to pick a side, I’d probably pick Dickens and McCay, not because they are more or less trustworthy that Lauderdale, but they’re closer to the coaches.
- The thing that gets me is that Dickens and McCay also seemed so confident about the situation. Usually, there’s some hemming-and-hawing about the status of the player, but they just came out and said, Bethel is most likely not going to be on the team next year.
- I shudder to think about what the secondary will look like if Bethel can’t go. Without a doubt, cornerback is the weakest position on the team, maybe that’s right up there with defensive end. Bethel has always been the best player, but even he has his moments where he can’t cover anyone and he’s just as responsible as anyone else for producing an really terrible defense.
- I do wonder as well as to the rumors about the scuttle between Willies and Shimonek and Bethel. I don’t know what to make of those and maybe the disagreement between the two parties is such that Kingsbury has just agreed to let Bethel go his own way.
- Damarcus Fields and Desmon Smith better be ready to play. Fields maybe more so than Smith.