By Will Vandervort
It took all of about 30 seconds Monday for Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to have to address the idea that Georgia players were intentionally faking injuries to slowdown Clemson’s tempo in the Tigers’ 38-35 victory Saturday night.
One of the members of the media told Morris that if he goes too fast in the press conference, “I’m going to one knee.” Morris laughed at the comment and replied, “You are going to drop, huh? I got you. I understand. I understand. You will not be the first. And probably not the last either.”
Obviously, Georgia isn’t alone in this way of thinking. Northwestern reportedly was doing the same thing in its win over California as it had several questionable injuries that slowed Cal down.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said is his Sunday teleconference that they are not going to go out of their way to help up tempo offenses by telling hurt players to run off the field if they can. With that said, Richt said they were not telling their players to intentionally go to the ground, either.
However, there is video evidence that shows otherwise. With 10:52 to play in the first quarter—after Clemson had run four straight plays—Georgia defensive end Leonard Floyd looked to the sideline for the play and seemed okay at the time. He then was tapped on the shoulder by corner back Damian Swann just before turning around, and all of a sudden he dropped to the ground like he was shot.
After a brief break, Floyd got up and walked to the sideline. Floyd was back in the game three plays later. By the way, Clemson scored the game’s first touchdown later on that drive.
“It’s hard to say. I think you are seeing that more throughout the country,” Morris said. “You are seeing teams that are falling into that suit. Again, it is hard to say, but I think we all see the same thing.”
It appeared as if Georgia went to the ground two more times in the game. With 7:18 to go in the third quarter, Amarlo Herrera dropped to the ground suddenly, and after a few minutes he jogged back to the sideline and a few plays later he was back in the game and seemed fine.
In the fourth quarter, with 9:21 to go, linebacker Ramik Wilson went down and it appeared he might need a stretcher because he was down for so long, but he eventually popped up and walked over to the sideline. A few plays later he was back on the field and seemed okay.
Morris, who has had these issues surrounding his scheme since his days as a high school coach and when he was the offensive coordinator at Tulsa, says the NCAA or somebody, is going to have to step in and do something.
“From a liability standpoint, I don’ know what you can do with the way it is,” Morris said. “As an official I guess it can be a delay of game or something if you flag somebody for something like that. When I was at Tulsa we ran into the same thing.
“Those are just things that you do, and obviously our tempo is going pretty good when people are doing that to us.”
The funny thing is Georgia just delayed the inevitable. Clemson scored 17 of its 38 points on those three drives in question in which they faked an injury.
“I think we all see the same thing and I think you see it more relevant throughout the country,” Morris said.