Asked to clarify if he believed Virginia Tech players intentionally faked injuries, Taggart said: “It happened too often, so it’s hard not to. It happened too often.”
ESPN cameras on multiple occasions zoomed in on Hokies players, mostly defensive linemen, who seemed to go uninjured during a play, then glance to the sideline and fall down, beckoning for an athletic trainer. Officials stopped the game to allow those players to get treatment. They were helped off the field to a chorus of boos.
But Virginia Tech Coach Justin Fuente said his team was struggling with the heat and humidity at Doak Campbell Stadium. It was 76 degrees at kickoff, according to the game’s official box score.
“Going into the game, we were severely concerned about our ability to handle the humidity and the weather, just coming from our climate,” he said. “We certainly had some issues with it throughout the game. At halftime numerous guys were in there getting IVs and getting treatment so they could finish out the game.”
Faking injury, or falling down on the ground and asking to receive treatment without an apparent injury, is not against the rules but is largely frowned upon. Some defensive-minded coaches, including Alabama’s Nick Saban, have argued that no-huddle offenses should be outlawed in the name of player safety.
Taggart said he expects college football will eventually adopt a rule penalizing a team for feigning injuries.
“They’ll come up with something,” he said. “Until they do, I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t do it.”
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