Before I write anything, I would like to express that I have no opinion on the Darrell Williams trial or verdict. This is simply an opinion on what the petition and support could do to help Darrell Williams’ situation, and nothing past that.
The people heading the @FreeDarrell twitter account and “Free Darrell Williams” Facebook page started a petition on change.org last night.
Here is the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/payne-county-suspend-darrell-williams-sentence-and-set-him-free?utm_campaign=share_button_modal&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=24770944
Currently, it has 923 signatures. That is 2,699 total accounts in support of Darrell Williams when you add together the signatures, follows on Twitter, and “likes” on Facebook, though I know most of those are duplicates as most people have both Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve been following closely and and giving updates on Twitter, and the most common response I’ve gotten is “That’s great and all, but will it accomplish anything?”
Disclaimer: All of this is a long shot, but this is what the exposure gained from the “Free Darrell Williams” movement COULD do. Doesn’t mean it will, just that it could.
Williams’ attorney has stated that she intends to file for an appeal on the case. The appeal goes to a higher court, and if they accept it, the case can be retried with new everything.
Where the petition, Twitter, and Facebook come in is that it gives the current situation exposure. There is a chance it could suspend sentencing, but the most major thing it can and already is doing is it puts the case on a national radar, and people are watching to see what happens.
At this pace, they would only be able to ignore it for so long. If you don’t know what I mean by that, search the story of Dewey Bozella.
So where it stands right now is exactly where we were when Darrell Williams was taken into custody post-verdict. Nothing has changed. It’s likely nothing will change as that’s how the legal system works, but every follower, signature, and “Like” raises the odds of anything happening by just a little bit more.
- Brendon Morris (@brendon_wm)
Last night, Darrell Williams was found guilty of two of four counts of rape by instrumentation, and one count of sexual battery by a jury of his peers in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Williams was a major part of the 2010-11 Oklahoma State basketball team, and seemed to be hitting his stride when it was brought to a sudden halt as the charges were filed.
The case was largely considered a “He said, she said” case, and the jury took eight hours before delivering a verdict.
According to Samantha Vicent of the Daily O’Collegian, there is an appeal process, but it is rare for the appeal to be granted. Vicent said:
“Ch. 18 of Criminal Procedure states he can file an appeal w/the Court of Criminal Appeals within 90 days. It says all appeals shall be taken by “petition for writ of certiorari”, meaning he’ll ask the SC to review the decision. However, it is rare for a judge to grant one. He can also appeal under the Post-Conviction Relief statite, but that’s stricter.”
Regional media covered the story, but national media soon picked up on it, including national columnist Gregg Doyel tweeting a story link:
@GreggDoyelCBS: Ok State basketball player convicted of rape. His immediate response was … wow.
@GreggDoyelCBS: If I’m on that jury, and I convicted a guy with zero physical evidence, and he reacts like THAT? I’m terrified.
This evening, a Facebook page entitled “Free Darrell Williams” was started, and already has around 50 likes after being active for only about half an hour.
A post on the Facebook page by the administrator says:
I have been in contact with Bishop Grant of the Rainbow Push organization. If everyone will send an email maybe we can get somewhere. The email is email@example.com We are willing to do whatever we can to get him free. Please invite friends and post things about Darrell. He needs to know he has an army behind him.
Though the verdict has been given and the dust seemed to be settling, it seems there could be more to this story.
The Daily O’Collegian will continue to monitor any developments, as well as keep tabs on any file for an appeal by Williams and/or his attorney.
***UPDATE (12:57 AM, July, 25, 2012)***
A Twitter account has also been started affiliated with the Facebook page under the handle @FreeDarrell. It has 149 followers since being created at 11:55 PM.
***UPDATE (1:02 PM, July 25, 2012)***
The Williams supporters’ social network pages are gaining steam very quickly.
The twitter page, started around midnight last night, just hit 500 followers, and has gained exposure with former OSU receiver Justin Blackmon endorsing. They also reached out to former quarterback Brandon Weeden, and Rev. Al Sharpton.
The Facebook page that was created late last night has also hit 313 “Likes”, and have posted that the group will have a prayer meeting at the Payne County Courthouse on August 1st.
Both of the pages have also stated that if Williams is not free by Monday, they will be protesting at the courthouse.
***UPDATE (1:53 PM, July 26, 2012)***
Support for Williams has hit the ground running. As of right now, the @FreeDarrell Twitter has amassed 1,040 followers since it started just after midnight on Wednesday morning. The Free Darrell Williams Facebook page is currently at 694 “Likes”, and the administrators behind the pages also started a petition on change.org for Williams. It currently has 887 signatures since being started yesterday.
We are closely monitoring the current situation here at the Daily O’Collegian Newspaper, and will continue to provide updates on any new developments.
After a breakout campaign last season, OSU running back Joseph Randle brought on comparisons to legendary Cowboy tailback Barry Sanders.
Randle rushed for 1,200 yards and 24 touchdowns in thirteen games, and is becoming known as a slippery back with a filthy shimmy-style juke in the open field.
At Big 12 Media Day, Sanders’ name was mentioned to Randle, and he immediately had a story to tell.
“My brother met him the other day at a golf tournament in Wichita a few weeks ago,” Randle said. “He said ‘Man, Barry was hitting golf balls further than I’ve seen anybody hit them.’ He’s just a freak athlete.”
Randle went on to address the comparisons that have continued throughout the offseason, with the junior being named to the preseason All-Big 12 team and numerous award watch lists.
“He’s arguably the greatest runningback of all time,” he said. “It’s really just an honor to even be in the same sentence as him.”
Even after such a dominant year, Randle shot down any comparison to Sanders. Or at least for now.
He’s simply enjoying the ride instead, and has a “whatever happens, happens” approach to this season and the rest of his career in Stillwater.
“Honestly, I was just happy he knew who I was,” Randle said with a laugh.
When Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy spoke with various Oklahoma State beat writers after addressing the general media, he dropped a line that I thought was interesting, so I tweeted it.
@brendon_wm: Gundy: Wes Lunt is up to 220lbs.
Now, to clear things up for anyone who keeps up with what is and isn’t an offseason NCAA infraction, Gundy has not had direct contact with Lunt for quite sometime. For him to do so would be an infraction, as the only members of the staff allowed to have contact with the players is the strength & conditioning coaches.
“I haven’t heard anything other than their conditioning has been good,” Gundy said. “I don’t ask about anything other than the X’s and O’s standpoint.”
The immediate reaction on Twitter was negative, with Jared Lorenzen reference even thrown in there (Lorenzen is known for having weight management problems).
I haven’t seen Lunt since the spring game other than a brushing by him in the library during finals week, but I will repeat what I’ve heard multiple times from players and coaches.
When you go through OSU strength & conditioning coach Rob Glass’ program for te first time, you add 8-15 pounds to whatever weight they were before, and that’s what they are after.
That’s the kind of muscle and bulk that is added during that time with Glass, whom many people consider to be one of the top coaches in that area in the nation.
In general, a usual offseason is a two step process.
The first step is bulking up. It’s hitting the weights hard, adding muscle mass and simply getting your body as strong as possible. The second step is transitioning the emphasis from body mass and turning that bulk into lean muscle. Placing the concentration on cardio, and relearning finesse with their new build.
I’m not surprised by Gundy saying Lunt’s weight was up. No high school program in the nation has a weight program like a division one university, so it’s a workout like no college freshman has ever seen before. It’s not surprising that he added a ton of muscle because it’s doubtful Lunt has never spent that amount of time in the weight room in his life. That doesn’t just go for him, but any newcomer.
“He’s conditioned now,” Gundy said. “He wasn’t when he arrived, but he is now. That will benefit him greatly this season and in the future.”
I’ll leave you with this— Lunt regarded as a pocket passer, being listed in the 6’3-6’5 range by just about everyone.
The added weight will give him a little more protection from the hits he’ll take in the pocket, and will add strength to his already spectacular arm.
So am I worried? I look at it this way: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the best pocket passers in the game, and he’s listed at 6’4, 225lbs.
The fact that Lunt is 6’4, 220lbs shouldn’t be a concern, but a good thing. He’s developing into what Gundy hopes to be a “franchise quarterback”, or as close to one as you can have at the college level.
OSU coach Mike Gundy addressed the media on Tuesday at the Westin Hotel in Dallas for the Big 12 Media Day.
Below is a list of his answers for various questions he was asked during his press section of the day.
On Defense: I enjoyed watching our defense with their athleticism and speed. We were able to put young players in there and there wasn’t much dropoff. We recruited towards some depth on defense, but we feel better about our defense than we ever have since I’ve been a coach.
On Randle: Joseph has done very well for us. He’s been durable, not only good inside but outside. He pass blocks well. Between him and Jeremy, with Joseph has kind of established himself as a dominant back in this league.
On Randle handling this year: He should handle it well. He’s been with OSU for three years now. We have a certain way we carry ourselves and team being first. I’m confident that he’ll handle it the right way. He has to remember that if not, things will go the other direction. As soon as you think you’ve arrived, someone is there to knock you off.
Success with coordinator changes: Continuity probably isn’t the best word. Cohesiveness in our willingness to work together. I’d like to think with the way we practice, we believe in finding a goal, identifying our strenghts, and how do we get them the football, then force mistakes and turnovers for the other team. Our coordinators that we have in place now have done a good job of being a head coach on that side of the ball.
On this year’s talent at running back: Years ago when we talked about losing Kendall Hunter, we thought that Randle and Jeremy Smith could develop and give us what Kendall gave us back then.
On Penn State tranfsers: There’s a lot to digest right now. There’s been so much information in the last 24 hours. We have not had a lot of success with players that have transferred. We’ve taken some, but a majority of our success has come with players we’ve recruited out of high school. We have to take a look at everything that’s going on. It’s a long way over there, it’s not like it’s a 4 hour car drive. I’m gonna guess most of their players are from that part of the country. It’s not a priority for us, but if there were some interest, I think we’d look at it.
Turnover margin: Well there’s no question that the success we’ve had recently has been directly related to our turnover margin. We forced as many if not more turnovers than anyone in the last two years, and we take care of the ball. Wes has to understand his role, in that the has a number of players that are there to help him. He can’t put a lot of pressure on himself. And our defense has to pick up where they left off last year.
How to continue success: 5 or 6 years ago I was saying that our goal is to win the conference and a national championship, and a small percentage of the people hearing it believed us. But I think now that we’ve established ourselves as a quality program, they should understand that as long as we continue to compete and work hard, it will continue.
On leadership: It’s coming from the veteran players. The players practice on their own just like everyone else. The younger guys know the work part, but it’s up to the veteran players to set our rules and traditions in place for them.
Sources told the Daily O’Collegian that linebacker Joe Mitchell, who is entering his junior year, was looking at a transfer to Lamar University in Beaumont, TX on Sunday.
Former OSU runningback Herschel Sims will attend Lamar this fall after being dismissed from the OSU Football Team earlier this summer following felony legal charges brought against him.
Gina Mizell of the Oklahoman reported Sunday that Oklahoma State said Mitchell had not asked for a release from his scholarship.
Alexis Brasfield, a close friend of Mitchell, posted on Twitter on Wednesday, saying:
“Joe has officially transferred to Lamar University .. He’ll be home tomorrow afternoon!”
Mitchell was listed as the immediate back up at strong side linebacker on OSU’s pre-spring depth chart in March. Shaun Lewis was listed as the starter.
Lamar University was contacted, but said that they have nothing on the situation, but could in the coming days.
This Sunday marks a few things for Oklahoma State and Big 12 Conference fans alike. It’s July 1st, and will be West Virginia and TCU’s first official day as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
It’s also exactly two months before the Pokes storm out of the Northwest corner of Boone Pickens Stadium to take the field against the Tigers of Savannah State.
So a tradition that I’ve done (well, since last year anyway), is a preview of the schedule before the season really starts.
This season’s Oklahoma State schedule is interesting to say the least. When I first saw it, my initial thought was “This definitely favors Oklahoma State” while most of my fellow journalists didn’t.
Why did I think that? Because of a theory I made up to go with it. It’s called “The Tier Theory”. If you look at this schedule, there are three tiers of four games that the Cowboys will go through. Each tier starts with what’s one would consider an “easy win” if there is such a thing, and then builds in strength the next three games until it starts over after the four games are through.
Let’s get into it.
September 1: Savannah State Tigers- This is opening day, and the atmosphere will be incredible, even against what most are calling a sub-par opponent. Savannah State finished 1-11 last year, and failed to score double-digits six times. They also scored 10 points in their season finale.
Most are saying this will be a walk, and that’s probably correct. Freshman quarterback Wes Lunt is probably excited about it. Behind him, there are a few other unproven players that will benefit from weaker competition.
September 8: @ Arizona Wildcats- Everyone remembers last year’s Thursday night televised trouncing of the Wildcats on ESPN when Brandon Weeden went absolutely nuts by almost finishing the first half with no incompletions. They also probably remember the 2010 Alamo Bowl where Weeden and superstar receiver Justin Blackmon put their talents on display and almost ran Arizona out of the stadium.
Both of those games got all but out of hand rather quickly, but those were with Mike Stoops at head coach. Now they have Rich Rodriguez there, and while it’s unlikely he’ll have his system fully implemented by then, it also means he won’t have the players he wants playing either. The head coach’s name is scary, and they still have PAC-10 talent, but it’s unlikely they’ll be clicking.
But then again, this isn’t the same Oklahoma State team of the past two years, so who knows what it could look like. Lunt on the road could get rather interesting very fast.
September 15: Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajun’s- Lafayette gave the Pokes some trouble last season in their opener. Weeden tossed a few interceptions and the overall team looked a little slow compared to what they turned into, but they eventually won. ULL certainly has the most potential to sneak up and bite Oklahoma State, so this is certainly no game to look past.
BYE WEEK: September 22- This will be huge for the Cowboys. They’ll have a week off to heal up all of their bruises and tired muscles while also getting that time to prepare for the Longhorns. Without this, I’d give the Cowboys about a 30% chance of beating UT. Without it? 50% at the least.
September 29: Texas Longhorns- The Longhorns have been picked to win the conference by a few different people, but I still haven’t seen enough out of them for me to do that yet. As far as I know, Texas still has no quarterback with an arm that can put his team in contention to win big games in the Big 12, and that’s where it all starts with Texas.
It seems like they’ll almost always have one of the best defenses on paper in the Big 12, but OSU has exposed some holes the last two years by winning back-to-back games in Austin. To me, this game is a complete toss-up. I’m sure one of the national broadcasts will pick it up, and Boone Pickens Stadium will be going ballistic when the Longhorns come to town for the first time since October of 2009.
Will the Pokes pull it out? Who knows. It’s a complete toss up until the quarterback issue is addressed, but UT coach Mack Brown is one of the best in the nation, and he certainly will have his team, no matter how good, ready to play.
The PGA TOUR heads to Ohio for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, and there’s a good forecast for former Oklahoma State golfers.
On the current Expert Picks for the weekend on pgatour.com, John Schwarb is picking Rickie Fowler to finish in the Top 10 for a fifth-consecutive time. Fowler tied for 5th at the Colonial last weekend after shooting a 5-under for the tournament.
Fowler will tee off with Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson (Greatest group ever?) on Thursday (1:05 PM off tee #1) and Friday (8:15 AM off tee #10).
Hunter Mahan, currently ranked second overall in the FedEx Cup Standings, is also participating. He will tee off at 12:54 PM on Thursday and 8:04 AM on Friday.
Bo Van Pelt, who stayed in contention for the Colonial for about 3.5 rounds, will tee off at 7:53 AM on Thursday, and 12:43 PM on Friday.
Peter Uihlein, who missed the cut last weekend in Fort Worth after a 10-over second round will have the weekend off, as will Scott Verplank, who dropped from the Colonial field citing a wrist injury. There has been no word on how much time he will miss. Charles Howell III will also have the weekend off.
Cowboys baseball coach Frank Anderson has been relieved of his duties, the OSU athletic department announced on Tuesday by email.
Anderson began coaching the Pokes in 2004, and amassed a 329-208 record during his time in the dugout, with his best season record coming in 2008 with a 44-18 record.
None of his teams ever made the trip to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. The closest he ever got was in 2007, losing in the Super Regional round.
Anderson had 15 All Americans on his teams, and 14 were named All Big 12 first team selections.
He also had to coach through lowered amounts of scholarships due to various reasons, and never fielded a team with the full amount.
“Even though Frank was not responsible for the (scholarship) errors, he accepted his fate with a positive attitude and never used the situation as an excuse,” OSU athletic director Mike Holder said in a press release.
“I commend him for his loyal service to OSU and regret that he didn’t get nine years with a full allotment of scholarships and a level playing field with the competition.”
Rumors of who the school will hire to replace Anderson have been flying around, but there has been no comment from the department on the subject.
- Brendon Morris
The crowd gathered at the Colonial Country Club for the Crowne Plaza Invitational was rather peculiar, was was what they were watching.
Mixed in with the old-school golf enthusiasts were the new-age golf fans; fans influenced by former Oklahoma State golf star Rickie Fowler.
For every traditional golf hat, there was a flat-billed PUMA cap watching Fowler’s ever move.
But it wasn’t the 23-year old Cowboy alum that stole the show… It was a man by the name of Bo Van Pelt.
After shooting a 69 on Thursday (good for 1-under), Van Pelt departed the clubhouse on Friday morning as a man on a mission.
Van Pelt finished the course scoring seven birdies and just one bogey, scoring a round of 64, good for 7-under on the tournament and a tie for third behind leader Jason Dufner, who stands at -11.
Besides Van Pelt, Fowler is the next-best Oklahoma State golfer. The 300-400 fans that followed him throughout the entire course saw Fowler score another round of 68, as he did on Thursday, and set himself up to contend for the tournament going into the last two days with a 4-under overall score.
Hunter Mahan, who is currently second in the FedEx Cup Standings behind Dufner, had a rough outing on Friday, finishing +1 overall for the tournament.
The projected cut is +2.
Peter Uilhein, who joined the PGA TOUR after participating in OSU’s fall season in 2011, had the worst day of any of the OSU participants, finishing Friday with a round of 80, good for +10 and setting him at 14-over for the entire tournament.
Follow here and my twitter (@brendon_wm) for more OSU golfer updates as the tournament carries on.