The first one came against NC State, where Shipley was clearly down, and as you can see in the picture of this article, the tackler lowered his head and crushed Shipley in the back of the head/neck area. From my perspective, at least, it doesn’t get as clear as that, and yet, it was a no-call.
This hit caused Shipley to miss the next week’s game against Notre Dame for concussion protocol. One miss, okay, fine… but two? Unacceptable.
Georgia Tech linebacker Kyle Efford, once again clearly, lowered his head and dealt a huge hit to Shipley’s head on a run against the Yellow Jackets. It was clear for everyone in Clemson Memorial Stadium, except for the refs. When Shipley saw the hit and saw there was no targeting call, he lost his mind on the sideline and, understandably, after the NC State missed call.
“It was frustration that it was not even being reviewed for a targeting call,” Shipley said. “I think everybody has a role to play and everybody has a responsibility, and I absolutely love the refs and the work they put in, but I believe it is their responsibility to keep the players safe.
“I was frustrated because I did not think they were doing their part.”
The fact that it wasn’t even reviewed was wild. It has been a brutal season for ACC officials, and it was apparent in these situations and more. If you want to see how bad they’ve been this season, go watch Florida State vs. Miami. Those officials put on a clinic on how not to officiate a football game.
It had to frustrate Shipley even more since he was already coming off a clear miss call with a hit that caused him to miss the game against the Fighting Irish.
“I understand I chose to play football, and it is a violent game, but I was trying to protect myself,” Shipley said. “The past two big (hits), the NC State hit and now that one, were direct head-to-head contact. There is not much I can do about it. I got hit in the back of the head, so I think that is where you saw the frustration come from.”
“Probably the biggest concern for me was that was the first time I was knocked unconscious,” Shipley said. “It’s really the first season I thought about my head and what can happen to it. I think (the frustration with official) definitely stimmed from that.
“It was my first game back. I was a little timid, hesitant going into the game, as I think any athlete in my case would be.”
These hits can be unavoidable, but the ACC officials simply have to be better.