SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It was spotted in Clemson, S.C., and Berkeley, Calif., over the weekend: players going down with debatable injuries, purportedly to slow the spread no-huddle offenses they faced as a defense.
Whether the ailments of Georgia and Northwestern's players were legitimate is a point of conjecture. But there have been documented cases — like, ironically enough, Cal in 2011 — of players being coached to feign injuries to slow hurry-up offenses.
"I don't think it's within the spirit of the game," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. "Faking injuries is not part of the sportsmanship of the game."
Kelly pointed to the success Stanford had against Oregon last year as a much more honest way of countering a fast-paced offense.
"Two years leading up to that game, Stanford really struggled with the high tempo, fast offense that Oregon ran against Stanford," Kelly explained. "Well, last year Stanford figured out a way to get their calls in and play fast defense, and they caught up to that fast-tempo offense."
Oregon torched Stanford 52-31 in 2010 and 53-30 in 2011, but were knocked out of the BCS title hunt with a 17-14 loss last November.
To Notre Dame's credit, its defense dealt with an up-tempo offense well on Saturday in Temple. The Irish frequently rotated in plenty of players and, instead of loathing the pace, relished in it.
"That was awesome," linebacker Dan Fox said. "Guys were running in and out, communicating personnel, it was fast, too. They were going tempo. It's hard to do when team's going tempo, and we did a great job with it."