The tactic of having defensive players fake injuries to slow down up-tempo offenses returned to the spotlight this week after Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian accused the Stanford Cardinal of using that trick to disrupt the Huskies.
Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich, whose team will play Washington on Saturday, was asked about the issue earlier in the week. While Helfrich admitted that such an underhanded tactic has no place in the game of football, he said fans shouldn’t automatically assume an injured player is faking:
We’ve seen that in the past. That’s one of those things that you never want the crowd booing when a guy’s hurt because you’re not quite sure. I’m not a big fan of that. But there are times in the past where there’s zero doubt of what’s going on. I don’t know what happened this weekend at all but we certainly don’t think that has any place in the game (Oregon Live).
Helfrich’s point is an important one, and he’s right not to support the booing of potentially injured players. Ever since the California Golden Bears faked injures against the Oregon Ducks in 2010, Oregon fans have become especially paranoid about teams using that strategy. The Autzen crowd boos whenever an opposing defensive player goes to the turf, and that’s frankly unacceptable. Yes, teams sometimes stretch the rules to combat the Oregon’s offensive onslaught, but that doesn’t justify the risk of booing a player who may actually be hurt.
[Source: Oregon Live]