Ferry Gets a Pass on Turnover ... For Now

By Steve DiMiceli

If you've read my stuff over the past few years, you'll remember that my biggest and earliest criticism of Ron Everhart was the volume of players leaving early. While there is some turnover to be expected, Everhart was regularly losing key players as well as a handful of decent back ups who never got a chance to develop. I think this stunted the progress of his program, lead to his inability to turn the corner and ultimately, keep his job. With the announcement of Quevyn Winters and four others transferring, I'm seeing shades of Everhart in Jim Ferry even though I realize that is probably irrational. Ferry deserves the chance to establish his own track record independent of the previous coach, but after this year, I hope we see the defections limited to a couple of players here and there.

I want to make it very clear, I was pissed about the roster movement we're seeing this offseason even before Q became official yesterday. However, I'm giving Ferry a pass for the turnover much the way I gave Everhart a pass his first year at the helm at Duquesne. I credit Ferry for giving the roster holdovers a chance to prove themselves but I question how asking players to leave has effected the morale of players who were expected to stay. It's a lot more difficult to accept when your friends and teammates are asked to leave the program than it is complete strangers or former players who leave as you're coming in. I have to wonder how much of a role the other players transferring had in Winters decision to leave.

However, like Everhart's first year, I do think the roster turnover will help clear some deadweight and make the team deeper and stronger even if Winters got put through the wood chipper by accident. The albatross that was the class of 2015 is completely gone.  Eight players including the graduates are leaving. Three scholarships are open and five are filled. In his first offseason, Ferry put together a pretty darn good class and had four openings on April 15th. Of course, last year he was only on the job for five days on the 15th. I think he is in better position to make good use of the scholarships he still has open than he was last year. If he found Q in such short order last off season, he can find his replacement just the same.

I'm not expecting Ferry to eliminate turnover completely and I don't expect all of the players who leave in the future to be role players and bench depth. However, there simply can't be another mass exodus like the one we saw this offseason. You can't build a winner and hope to sustain success without of retaining the bulk of your roster. Hopefully, this is a one time thing and not the pattern we saw with Everhart. I'll assume it won't be and I'll give Ferry the benefit of the doubt for now. If this is not the exception, then we're going to have problems.

On a side note, I'm really looking forward to a quiet April.