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Were Cal Defensive Injuries Against Oregon Genuine? If Phantom, Were They Justifiable?

CBKWit: Maybe some were fake, and I don't care.  I think reader Jali has it right on:

"Running a high speed offense tires other players. Shocking, I know. You know what the coaches probably told them? Don’t try to play through a cramp, go down and get out. Since normal teams plays slow enough that they could normally limp off in time to sub out, they don’t have to go down. Because of the way that Oregon plays, the only way a team can get an injury sub (even a minor injury like a cramp) is by stopping play."

Oregon is running a gimmick to prevent the defense from making substitutions.  We did the same to make our substitutions.  Pretty hypocritical for Oregon fans to boo injuries (especially when some, like Anthony's, were caused by their illegal and dirty play) when they are running a gimmick themselves.  Stay classy, ducks.

(After the jump, the scandalous video of Aaron Tipoti seemingly pulling an old Dutch soccer trick!!! OR WAS IT REAL? Dun-dun-dun.)

Cal player faking an injury (via bbradetich)


yellow fever: The cynic in me says they were fake, the optimist (in terms of believing that we wouldn't resort to such tactics) says they were real. Which part of me wins? The cynic, unfortunately. I'm leaning fake

Berkelium97:  Fake.  You have to take advantage of every opportunity you're given in a game like this, even if it means using a stupid exploit in the rulebook.  Is it the most respectable way to buy time for the defense to catch its breath? No, but I supported the decision.  Anthony's concussion was real of course, and should have been flagged.  That was a blatant attempt to take out one of our CBs.

norcalnick: I have no evidence that they were fake.  Frankly, the timing of Cal's hypothetically fake injuries rarely struck me as the time to try that trick.  Wasn't one of them late in the 2nd quarter when we were forced to use a timeout because of the injury?  Why fake an injury when you can just call a timeout and avoid the trickery?

LeonPowe:  I'll answer the last one. I think our guys had nicks and cramps that they would normally play through, but they weren't faking.  I think the color announcer should get a sternly worded letter from tedford or sandy for implying our kids were cheating without proof. 

Cramps come up. Oregon plays really fast. /not sarcastic

The case for real:
a)  Chilly night, and it was the big guys who were cramping up.
b)  Clearly, our D line was giving an incredible effort.  They were charging upfield, and also running back to help make tackles in the secondary.
c)  The speed of Oregon's offense means more snaps for the D line.  Also, the nature of their offense (attacking wide from sideline to sideline) means the D line has to cover more ground.
d)  Didn't see a lot of additional substitutions during the injury time-outs.  You'd think it would be a good time to shuffle additional personnel.
e)  It doesn't seem like Tedford's style

The case for fake:
a)  Chilly night, and it was only the big guys who were cramping up. 
b)  Coincidentally, the cramps occurred at the same exact position. (NT)
c)  On one occasion, you could see the cramps occurring after the to-be-cramping player looked to the sidelines.  No other players were looking to the sidelines for playcalls/signals/schemes at the time.
d)  When the D was really sucking wind during that last drive of the game, the cramps stopped.  Why?  Because within the last two minutes of the game, the officials are allowed to penalize the defense 5 yards and run 10s off the clock for injuries.
e)  Tedford's not an idiot.  He's worked rules before to get an advantage (deliberately took an illegal procedure penalty during his 1st year in order to run out the clock and avoid punting.)

Either way, what's the big deal?  It's like Jeter running to 1st base holding his right wrist after the ball appeared to hit his left wrist.  Or, taking a delay of game penalty to give your punter more room.  Or, icing the opposing kicker by calling a timeout.  Or, breaking up an opposing pitcher's rhythm by stepping out of the box repeatedly.  During his stay with the Raiders, Ronnie Lott would deliberately keep the receiver pinned to the ground after making a tackle when they were trying to run a no-huddle/hurry-up offense.  This is big-time college sports.  Both sides are doing everything they can to get an advantage.  This ain't tea, crumpets, and "Bill, do pass the ball."  If Oregon could snap the ball on offense before we're set or ready, they'd do it every single time.

TwistNHook: Of course, this isn't really an either/or.  Considering I wrote this question, I have nobody to blame but myself.  Some of those injuries seemed quite genuine, such as the one where Derrick Hill couldn't put any weights on his foot.  Another one seemed quite genuine, which was the illegal pick against Marc Anthony.  So, I think it is difficult for Cal fans (or Oregon fans, too) to say which ones were real and which ones were fake. 

I will say that if they were fake, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense.  The so called fake cramps were infrequent and at random times.  It wasn't like every play.  It was like one here, one there, one here, one there.  Not even close in time or relationship. 

But apparently, some dude said it on TV, so what do I know?

atomsareenough: I think there were two injuries which may possibly have been exaggerated and drawn out a little. I absolutely don't think they were 100% fake, but I think it's quite possible they weren't 100% as bad as they were made out to be. Still, if the guy feels like he needs a few more seconds on the ground while the trainer works on a cramp, then that doesn't bother me. I don't think Hill's knee injury was fake, as he was questionable going into the game. Maybe Tipoti had one and Payne had one. That's 2 potentially questionable cramps out of 70 plays; not exactly an epidemic of it, or something you can legitimately call a deliberate strategy to slow Oregon down.

Also, I believe Kod pointed out in a comment that Tipoti and Payne had been nicked up of late anyway, so maybe they weren't in top game shape and actually did have some cramps. There's no conclusive way to prove it either way, and frankly the whole discussion is stupid and unwarranted. Oregon has NO right to complain about TWO cramps in SEVENTY plays in a game that THEY WON anyway, when their whole strategy is to move at a pace where the opposing defensive players can't handle it. If it were happening on every drive or something, that's one thing. Twice, it's not a strategy. Hell, you need three data points to even call something a trend, right?

TwistNHook: I don't know what this means, but the official recap only has a few injuries listed.  Are they missing any?

Near the end of the first quarter

  O 2-10 O30   [Shotgun], 1-Thomas, Darron left side pass incomplete to 21-James, L..
Hill (Cal) injured on play.

At the start of the second quarter:

  O 3-8  O32   [Shotgun], 1-Thomas, Darron middle pass incomplete (95-Owusu, Ernest),
PENALTY ORE holding declined.

Anthony (Cal) injured on play.

At the start of the 3rd quarter:

  O 1-10 C21   [Shotgun], 1-Thomas, Darron left side pass incomplete (97-Jordan, Cameron).

Payne (Cal) injured on play.

In the middle of the fourth quarter:

  O 2-4  O46   [Shotgun], 24-Barner, Kenjon rush over right end for 8 yards to the CAL46,

1ST DOWN ORE (0A-Williams, Steve).
Payne (Cal) injured on play.

I did this by doing a control F search in the official play by play.  Is there another place to list the injuries?  Am I missing any?  If not, any arguments that Cal was faking injuries is weak, non-existent, and should be stricken from the record. 

HydroTech: Tipoti came out at least once due to injury too

Avinash: Yeah, it was Payne, Tipoti, Payne.  Only three times by my count. Hill looked genuinely injured the first time I saw him come off; if he wasn't it was a thespian performance.

norcalnick: The Payne injury was actually at the end of the 2nd quarter - and does college have the rule about an automatic timeout on injuries inside 2 minutes?  In any case, it doesn't make sense to me why Tedford would call for a fake injury here when Cal had timeouts to use (he had already started using timeouts on defense and Cal wasn't going to try and do anything on offense that late in the half).

TwistNHook: Also, the Anthony injury was 100% legit.  And the last injury was clearly legit, because the player had to be helped off of the field and could not put any weight on his leg.  Apparently, the TV viewers did not see that, because it went to commercial. 

So, are we talking about 2-3 potentially fake injuries (maybe) over the course of the entire game?????  2-3!  Maybe!  Over the course of the entire game! 

If Tedford really was faking injuries to gain an undue advantage, THEN HE SUCKS AT IT!  DO IT MORE OFTEN!  NOT LESS THAN ONCE A QUARTER!


Kodiak: I think Atoms said it pretty well when he said there were 2 plays out of 70 that there _might_ have been any questionable injury issues.

Hill and Payne have been legitimately hurt.  Anthony was definitely hurt due to an illegal pick.  Looking at the much-ballyhooed replay of Tipoti looking to the sidelines...Everyone on the Cal team was looking to the sidelines.  He starts moving back towards the line and his leg starts to give.  Maybe this is Italian soccer meets European post defense.  But, it didn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Shut up and play ball already.

LeonPowe: Cramps don't have to happen immediately after exertion. 

I've had cramps sneak up on me all the time. 

I do think the color announcer needs to be punched in the face for questioning the integrity of the players if he doesn't have any specific knowledge - especially that our two NTs were nursing injuries before the game.


Berkelium97: Hurry up!  We gotta keep this post moving and we can't wait for your shenanigans! We have a deadline!

LeonPowe: CGB: We post so fast everyone gets cramps