“You love me! You really, really love me!”
For opposing teams this season, stopping Oregon’s mile-a-minute offense has been like trying to convince Allen Iverson that practice is important.
However, at one of the country’s most prestigious universities — California, Berkeley — a team of world-renowned football minds headed by Jeff Tedford has discovered the secret formula to slowing the effects of gettin’ yo butt handed to ya by Oregon’s high-flying rushing attack.
Fake an injury … or ten.
In what has to be one of the worst (or best?) acting jobs by a football player since O.J. Simpson in The Naked Gun, Cal defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti suddenly, um, “cramped” during the second quarter of the Ducks narrow 15-13 victory over the Bears. The “injury” stopped the clock and allowed Cal’s defense to regroup as Tipoti was attended to on the field and then helped gingerly to the sidelines.
Had the game been played in Autzen Stadium, the sound of over 50,000 collective boos would have been heard.
Duck fans have accused opposing players of creating phantom injuries more than once this year. The idea behind the conspiracy is that opposing teams fake injuries to not only give their defense a rest, but to disrupt the tempo of Oregon’s offense, which, at one point this season, was scoring a touchdown a minute.
That’s interesting. Do coaches teach their players to take breaks during two-a-days as well?
“If teams are doing that – and I don’t know if they are – then you basically have thrown up the white flag and said you can’t play at our pace,” Chip Kelly said.
And Kelly’s right. The job of the head coach is to game plan effectively against each opponent. If a team isn’t physically and/or mentally prepared to face their opposition, it is 100 percent the coach’s fault. Tedford denies telling his players to fake injuries, but oh, the beauty of the internet is astounding.
The 15 points scored by Oregon was by far the lowest of the season, so in some regards, Tedford’s supposed plan worked. Technically, nothing about faking injuries is illegal, either. The NCAA rule book simply states that “feigning injury will break down rather than aid in the building of the character of players.” Referees cannot call delay of game or unsportsmanlike conduct on fake injuries.
There’s also a billboard in Austin that says “Buzzed Driving = Drunk Driving”
Just because you may not be over the limit doesn’t mean you should drive.
Granted, fake injuries occur probably more than we know. A team needs a timeout during a potentially game-winning drive, so a player goes down. It happens, but it doesn’t make it right. In Oregon’s case, it should be considered downright cheating.