Floyd was not faking an injury, Richt says

semerson@macon.comSeptember 1, 2013 

ATHENS - There was a video snippet from Saturday's Georgia-Clemson game getting wide play on the Internet and Twitter world a day later, showing Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd going down quickly in between plays. The implication was Floyd was faking an injury, at the behest of his team, in order to slow the momentum for Clemson's up-tempo offense.

Head coach Mark Richt disputed that on Sunday. In fact, he was fairly explicit that Floyd was injured.

"He got hit in his privates real hard," Richt said.

Floyd was hit the play before in his nether-regions by an unintentional leg whip from a Clemson player, according to Richt. The video shows Floyd looking around, speaking to a teammate, and then going down.

"He's trying to figure out what to do there," Richt said. "But he was better off that he didn't play that next snap."

Richt said he and his staff are now instructing players to stay on the field when they're hurt, rather than try to get off.

"When a guy is injured he needs to just stay down, and not try to drag himself (off)," Richt said. "In the past you'd say, Hey be brave and be tough, and try to drag yourself off the field. But what happens is when you do that you give the other team the advantage. So if you are hurt, just stay down until the officials stop play and come off the field and let the next guy in.

"He was injured. If a guy's injured now, we're just telling him to stay down and don't come off until the officials stop play."

Clemson is one of many offenses emphasizing a high tempo offense with very little time in between snaps. That often prevents defenses from getting rest or substituting, so it's been reported that many defenses are instructing players to fake injuries.

Clemson fans booed practically every time a Georgia defensive player stayed down on the field on Saturday night. Often those players returned a play or two later. However, it's only fair to point out that at least three of those players - Floyd, inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera and outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins - are very important to Georgia's defense. Herrera led the team in tackles, and Jenkins is the team's best rusher. If players were going to be instructed to fake an injury, and thus miss at least one play, Herrera and Jenkins are probably the last candidates the team would sacrifice.

Still coy on Morgan

For at least one more week, the status of sophomore kicker Marshall Morgan will go unannounced. Richt again declined to say whether Morgan, who was held out of the Clemson game, would be available against South Carolina.

"Well, we'll let everyone know later," Richt said, then laughed. "We'll let you know later."

Then Richt praised the other kickers. He said walk-on Patrick Beless did a good job, going 5-for-5 on extra points, and was set to try a chip-shot field goal before the snap was muffed. The kickoff duties were handled by Collin Barber, a scholarship player who is the team's punter.

"His kicked off well enough for us to get down there and cover them. I don't think they got any of them to the 25. A couple of them he knocked through the end zone," Richt said. "And punting he did a beautiful job. Great hang times. ... And then of course the run on the fake punt was great."

Gurley appears fine

Other than Malcolm Mitchell, there were no other major injuries to report on Sunday. Star tailback Todd Gurley hurt his quad on his 75-yard touchdown run (when Mitchell got hurt celebrating), and was limited the rest of the way, though he still had a strong game.

"I do not think after talking to Todd after the game that it's anything that's gonna be serious at all," Richt said. "But you never know how a guy's gonna feel the next day. But I do think (head athletic trainer) Ron (Courson) would have said something to me if he thought anything was going on, with (Todd) or anybody else."

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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