July 29, 2014

Did Michigan fake their way on defense?

Some may call it a strategy. Others may call it a cop it. Or, players could actually be getting hurt. It is a sensitive subject, but are defenses beginning to employ the “fake injury” play to slow down uptempo offenses similar to Nebraska’s? Bo Pelini thinks so.

“I think it has been pretty obvious at times, but it obviously hasn’t been to the referees,” Pelini said Monday at his weekly news conference. “What are you gonna do? Sometimes your hands are tied. I don’t know what the answer is to that.”

It’s a sticky situation, because as leagues and officials from every football organization in America are looking at ways to cut down on injuries, on field officials have to be sensative to injured players. Assumptions can’t be made whether a player is hurt or faking it.

Pelini has what I think is a great simple solution. Instead of having an injured player miss one play, that player should be forced to miss at least that entire series. Perhaps that would eliminate a player faking an injury, slowing down the offense, then popping back on the field one play later.

If teams are employing the fake injury, it’s a cheap move. “It is something we will talk about in the offseason,” Pelini said. “There’s no rule against it. We don’t do it. Some people choose to. What are you going to do?”