Cal coach Jeff Tedford once again found himself answering questions Thursday about players faking injuries, with video clips gaining traction on YouTube and a published report in the Oregonian stating that fake injuries were part of Cal's defensive game plan Saturday against No. 1 Oregon.
The Bears had a handful of defensive linemen go down with apparent cramping during their 15-13 loss to the Ducks. Oregon opponents have been accused all season of faking injuries to slow down its breakneck tempo on offense.
One video clip shows reserve nose tackle Aaron Tipoti get up after a play seemingly fine, but after looking toward the Cal sideline, suddenly hobbling forward and falling on the football.
When asked if Cal's players faked injuries against Oregon, Tedford definitively said, "No."
Tedford said his players are always instructed to go down if they are hurt and the pace of the game doesn't allow them to get off the field in time to have a reserve replace them.
"This is the policy for everybody, and it's been in football forever," he said. "If the game is moving at a normal pace, then they can get off the field and get someone else in. If the game is not moving at a normal pace and there is an issue, they have to be able to get off the field in time and get somebody else on the field. If there's something wrong with you, the pace of play can't force you to stay in the game if there's an issue with you. If you can't get off the
The Oregonian report stated that a source within the Cal football program said faking injuries was a "big part" of the defensive game plan against Oregon, and that not all members of the Bears' coaching staff were on board with that strategy.
The Bears lead the Pac-10 in total defense, but most of their success has come against variations of the spread offense. The Cardinal runs a power scheme that could not be more different from what Cal went up against Saturday.
"I think our defense has played better against spread teams, so it's very challenging this week," Tedford said. "You know what's coming and they're still going to run right at you, and they're very successful doing it. That's going to be a challenge for us."
The good news for the Bears is that they've been pretty good against the run this season no matter what the opposing scheme. They also played well defensively against the Cardinal last season.
But even though the Bears still run a 3-4 scheme, new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said Cal can't really use last year's success to help this year.
"We're different up front technique-wise," Pendergast said. "We're different up front schematically. We run different coverages. We have a completely different package."