1 hour ago • By Andy Baggot | Wisconsin State Journal
Melvin Gordon is renowned for his aggressive nature, but an instance of passivity by the junior tailback for the University of Wisconsin football team landed him in the middle of another small controversy.
Turns out Gordon saw limited action in the second half Saturday against LSU in Houston because the Heisman Trophy candidate suffered a strained left hip flexor just before halftime.
Gordon subsequently aggravated the injury during a 63-yard run on the opening play of the third quarter and unofficially was on the field for nine more snaps of what turned out to be a 28-24 season-opening loss to the Tigers.
UW coach Gary Andersen said during his weekly news conference Monday he was acting on the advice of his medical staff when he eased back on Gordon’s workload and gave more repetitions to sophomore tailback Corey Clement.
Gordon, one of the top tailbacks in nation, finished with 16 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown, while Clement had 15 attempts for 45 yards and a TD.
“We were trying to be smart with him as the rest of the game went on,” Andersen said of Gordon.
Except, according to Gordon, neither Andersen nor first-year running backs coach Thomas Brown outlined that plan to him during the game.
“I didn’t ask questions,” Gordon said Monday. “When my number was called I went out there and did what I had to do.”
Gordon, who has been cleared to play in Saturday’s home opener against Western Illinois, said he wishes he would have taken a more proactive stance and gotten the necessary feedback.
“I kind of sat back,” he said, “and I put that on myself.
“I wasn’t really forceful with it. I wasn’t really demanding with it and I probably should have been.”
Problems arose during postgame interviews.
Andersen was purposely vague about the injury issue because he didn’t feel it was appropriate to provide those details.
“It’s like everyone wants to get into the kid’s business,” Andersen said. “It’s hard for me to be able to deal with.”
Outside the visitor’s locker room Gordon told reporters he was healthy enough to play even though he looked to be out of sorts after the long run to open the second half.
“I felt it, but like I said, I’m a competitor,” Gordon said Monday. “I’ve played through way worse.”
Gordon said he’s spoken with both coaches and labeled the incident a “misunderstanding.” He acknowledged he’s still cultivating a rapport with Brown, who took over after Thomas Hammock departed to coach in the NFL.
“They were trying to look out for what’s best for me,’’ Gordon said of Andersen and Brown.
This was the second straight Monday reporters hung on Gordon’s analysis. He raised eyebrows a week ago when he casually mentioned junior Tanner McEvoy had been tabbed the starting quarterback over junior incumbent Joel Stave.
Andersen had just informed the same audience no announcement would be made until game day.
Asked to assess the 11th 100-yard performance of his career, Gordon said it was “all right” before launching into a rundown of other top backs he felt had better season debuts.
“I’ve got to get working,” he said.