CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Chad Morris couldn’t resist having a little fun with the topic of defenses embellishing injury to slow down his frenetic offensive pace.
As Morris sat down Monday for his weekly press conference to review No. 8 Clemson’s 38-35 win Saturday over No. 5 Georgia, a reporter opened the session by joking, “If you go to fast, I’m going to one knee,” in reference to a Georgia defensive player appearing to intentionally stop the clock by rolling to the ground during the Tigers’ second offensive series.
Morris chuckled, and responded, “You’re gonna drop, huh? I understand.”
After a few seconds of laughter from reporters, Morris deadpanned: “You wouldn’t be the first.”
And then, “probably not the last, either.”
Morris has been seeing opponents do whatever they can within the rules since his days at Tulsa, so it wasn’t a shock to him to see Georgia freshman linebacker Leonard Floyd roll to the ground unabated.
Head coach Mark Richt claimed Floyd was “hit in his privates real hard” by a leg whip block, which cameras showed occurred 35 seconds before Floyd crumbled to the turf and teammate Damian Floyd made sure to motion to referees to stop the clock.
“I think you’re seeing that more relevant throughout the country,” Morris said. “You’re seeing teams that are following that suit. It’s hard to say. But I think we all see the same thing.”
There aren’t many clear answers to the solution. It’s a safety hazard to insist on wounded players trying to gut their way through the action, and there’s no way of referees reading the minds of injured players faking or not.
“You figure that somebody’s going to have to do something,” Morris said. “But from a liability standpoint, I don’t know what you can do. Officially, what would it be, a delay of game or something? Flag somebody for something like that?”
Morris shied away from suggestions respect is lost for teams who use those tactics. Asked if opponents should simply get themselves in better shape to battle up-tempo offenses, Morris nodded and said, “yeah.”
“We ran into the same thing when we were at Tulsa. So again, those are just things that you do. Obviously, our tempo’s going pretty good when people are doing that to us.”
Indeed, the Tigers ended up scoring their first touchdown on that particular drive anyhow.
“Anyways,” Morris said, “I’m more worried about my own house burning down.”