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Jumbo Package: Hurry-up offenses have prioritized flopping and fake injuries

Not naming any names, but we all know who’s doing this.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Louisiana State vs Central Florida

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Great story from ESPN’s Alex Scarborough on the feigned injury in college football.

Pat Mahomes was the quarterback, and you know how that offense was. Our coach said if we looked to the sideline and somebody gives us the finger” — the gun signal — “one of us has to go down.”

He saw his cue and leapt into action.

”I just went, ‘Ah!’ like I had a cramp” — grabbing his upper hamstring — “and went down.”

The ref told him to stay down, so he did.

”I looked up, and all my teammates automatically knew. It was like, ‘Thank you.’”

He waited a bit before jogging off the field with a pretend limp. “You gotta sell it,” he said. Teammates would heckle his Razzie-worthy performance during film review the following week, albeit with a wink and a nod.

”I think it helped the team get our feet back under us.”

It might not be pretty, but he called faking injuries a “gray area” of the game. And of the defensive players we talked to, everyone agreed. Maybe some haven’t participated — or won’t admit to participating — in it themselves, but they certainly understand why it’s done.

We all know those teams in the SEC that have very convenient cramps or look like they’ve been downed by 30.06 from twelve-feet, only to reemerge like a phoenix from the ashes two plays later. And conveniently, while the fourth quarter is their usual time to shine, some of these clubs particularly catch a bad cramp when an opponent is driving and has the defense on its heels. Let’s just say, without naming any names, that the worst offender has fans who know how to properly season a swamp rat.

The worst offender in the SEC is by no means alone, of course. What would college football be with some #BarnCheatin

But, really is it the gray area that Scarborough’s coaching source claims it is? Or, is it just more cheating?

One P5 coach absolutely does not feel that it is neutral. In a greater rant about how the sport has devolved into one of deception over, you know, playing football, the source said:

So there’s your argument: ‘OK, don’t lie on the ground and fake an injury. OK, well, don’t do this bulls—.’ It’s not football. That’s trick ‘em. Are we trying to trick people or fundamentally trying to teach them how to play the game?

”OK, all the trick ‘em, d— ’em, bulls—, is that what we want it to look like? We want to win because we trick you? Or are we going to beat you because we’re physical, we’re tough, we outrun you, got great talent, make a great catch, whatever it is? The game is great. But let’s face it: A lot of this college football stuff in certain leagues is a joke. It’s a joke. We’re going to score because we trick you better than others.

Of course, fingers are being pointed at Nick Saban.

But, for my money? That sounds like Kirby Smart, a coach so conservative that he makes Genghis Khan look like a Jill Stein donor. And, well, he was burned a time or three at ‘Bama by deception — particularly at the hands of Gus Malzahn.

Alabama Basketball is still in desperate need of a game-changing post player. Purdue’s Matt Haarms definitely fits that bill. The 7’3” prodigy is quite unexpectedly in the portal, where you can almost guarantee he will be this year’s prize from the Quitter Hole.

One of the more intriguing prospects in the NFL Draft this year is Henry Ruggs. Most see him just a step or two behind Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, but not by much. His Combine performance vaulted the junior burner all the way to marginal top-15 selection — and few expect him to last beyond the 16th pick.

Mike Leach made a fairly innocuous joke last week about a home-bound wife wanting to choke her husband during the quarantine. In the cartoon he tweeted, the woman was knitting a noose.

Somehow, this turned into a much bigger deal than anyone expected; certainly than Leach could have anticipated — with many saying the noose imagery was out of bounds and tone-deaf in Mississippi, given its lynching past.

It seemed to me more like people looking for a reason to be angry. Nothing in the cartoon or any followups suggest lynching is the context for the cartoon.

Nooses existed thousands of years before the transatlantic slave trade, reconstruction, or the bad ole’ Klan days, and they’ll still exist thousands of years from now, when the United States is just a memory recorded in our robot overlord’s history books.

But, it is proving to be one helluva’ excuse to jump into the quitter hole — as two players have done so far.

Look, Mississippi State knew what they were getting with Leach. He’s a nutty loose cannon. He’s irreverent, wholly unconcerned with prevailing social norms, and a bit of a dick. But no one’s ever accused him of having a racist bone in his body. And this excuse to enter the portal — and then not be penalized by losing a year because of the “hostile environment” — unfairly tarnishes Leach by implying precisely that.

Feel free to pile-on in the comments. But, if you saw something in that cartoon that you wanted to be #rayciss, it’s because you went looking for it.

And, finally, TUA HYPE VIDEO!

That may be it for today, folks. Have a great one. Be well.