One of the strange side effects of the hurry-up era of college football is that every defensive injuries must now be treated with suspicion.
The entire gambit behind the hurry-up is to play so fast that it prevents the defense from substituting, thereby forcing the opponent to leave tired players on the field as their offensive counterpart runs past them. But the push-pull nature of football has created an end around where any player who may want a breather simply falls on the field, thereby stopping the action completely.
No one will admit to it, but (almost) everyone does it. And when they do, and that defender happens to be playing in a stadium other than his own, the home fans boo.
That situation played out Saturday night in Fort Worth when TCU fans booed Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis, who went down with a cramp in the fourth quarter.
“I thought it was very sick moment,” Bielema told SEC Country Monday. “As (linebackers coach) Vernon (Hargreaves) said to me, he goes, ‘Yeah, I want Brooks Ellis out of the game. You’re right, we’re faking an injury. We’re taking what we think may be our best player off the field.’ It makes no sense.
“There isn’t a dishonest bone in his body. He was cramping up because he was playing his tail off and he got booed off the field.”
Ellis returned to the action for the remainder of the fourth quarter and overtime.
“You see him running in the locker room, he got the quickest IV I’ve ever seen in the history of mankind,” Bielema said. “Our doctors should be the SEC doctors of the week. They probably wouldn’t get it, and I’m not going to quit over it.”
Booing aside, Saturday night was just about perfect for Ellis. He led the Razorbacks with 13 tackles and three TFL, returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown and aided his club to a 41-38 double overtime win.