Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The rivalry extends to football... and so does the flopping

Well, I guess UNC and dook have a rivalry in football now, too.

For the first time since 2003, dook finally got a win against the Heels.  They played a more inspired game and definitely deserved to win.  Congrats to the dook players, coaches, and long-suffering fans.
Now that that's out of the way, let's focus on the story that's lingering after the game:

UNC's Shakeel Rashad has been suspended for one game by the ACC for this incident where he bumped dook's Conner Vernon while racing onto the field to get into position before the next play started.  Rashad says it was unintentional, so let's see if that claim makes sense.

Starting at the 0:44 mark of that clip, you can see Rashad running at a close angle to Vernon, but it doesn't appear he's at an angle to totally blindside Vernon, especially because Vernon is shifting to the left and slightly forward.  However, by the 0:46 mark, Vernon stops shifting and suddenly sets himself in position for the play while also stepping back with his plant foot.  The collision happens at the 0:47 mark as Rashad appears to trip on Vernon's plant foot and stumble forward into Vernon.  Even after losing his balance and bumping Vernon, it still doesn't look like much contact, particularly compared to the hits Vernon probably takes at full speed throughout the game.

So, why was Rashad suspended for such minor and seemingly unintentional contact?  It seems to me it was for two reasons:  1) Vernon flopped in a way that only dook basketball players could appreciate, and 2) dook's Coach Cutcliffe whined to the ACC office about the supposed "cheap shot."  Because the incident was so strange and because Vernon appeared to be in immense pain after the contact, the league office bought into the "cheap shot" theory.  That's a shame because by all indications, Rashad is a great kid who wouldn't dare cheap-shot another player.  But, the ACC didn't even asked him what happened on the play.

Lost in the story is the fact that Vernon only sat out one play, and he went on to have a fantastic rest of the game, showing no ill effects from the apparent "cheap shot" that had him writhing on the ground in supposed pain.

Also lost is the fact that there was a true cheap shot in this game, but it wasn't committed by a UNC player.  It was a cut block carried out by dook's Brian Moore on UNC's Tim Jackson two plays after the Rashad incident, coincidentally the next play after Conner Vernon came back into the game from dook's sideline.  As you can see, Moore is engaging Jackson around his shoulder pads well away from the play.  At the 0:08 mark, he suddenly disengages (as Jackson has his back turned to him) and then goes low and cuts Jackson as he starts to turn around.

Unlike Vernon, Jackson actually was injured on this play.  He'll be out at least 2-3 weeks due to this incident.  However, the ACC has yet to hand down any suspension for this, probably because UNC's Coach Fedora has taken the high road when speaking about the incident publicly instead of calling out Moore.

It's a shame that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but that's how it usually is with dook.  Isn't that right, Coach K?

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