Willie Taggart believes Virginia Tech faked injuries to slow down Florida State's offense

Yahoo Sports
Willie Taggart’s debut in Tallahassee couldn’t have gone much worse. (Getty Images)
Willie Taggart’s debut in Tallahassee couldn’t have gone much worse. (Getty Images)

There were quite a few times during Florida State’s season-opening loss to Virginia Tech that Hokies defenders went down to the turf with apparent injuries.

FSU coach Willie Taggart isn’t so sure.

During Wednesday’s ACC coaches teleconference, Taggart was asked if he thought Virginia Tech may have been faking injuries in order to slow down the tempo of his offense. Taggart gave an honest response saying it “happened too often” for him to think it wasn’t intentional.

Here’s the transcript from the ACC:

Q. If you would address this, after some of your long plays, Virginia Tech got some defenders injured down on the field. Obviously your fans thought that was an attempt to slow you down. You’ve seen that before. Address that topic.
WILLIE TAGGART: Well, it is what it is. I guess it’s part of football now. That’s all I can say.

Q. Would you like to see a rule change to prevent that?
WILLIE TAGGART: I’m sure we will one day. Kind of like everything else, it comes when it start happening. They’ll come up with something. Until they do, I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t do it.

Q. Did you believe that was intentional?
WILLIE TAGGART: I mean, it is what it is. It happened too often, so it’s hard not to. It happened too often.

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Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente responds

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente spoke after Taggart and was asked to address the same topic. He didn’t necessarily deny that his players faked injuries, but did say the humidity in Tallahassee caused some cramping issues.

“Going into the game, we were severely concerned about our ability to handle the humidity and the weather, just coming from our climate down there,” Fuente 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.”

A reporter followed up for clarification, and Fuente repeated a similar answer.

Q. I just want to clarify what you said earlier on the question about whether you guys were faking injuries. Does your answer mean that your players were not faking anything?
JUSTIN FUENTE: My answer is that we had numerous issues with cramping and guys battling through bumps and bruises and nicks and things that they were fighting through.

Taggart had a rough Florida State debut

The Hokies trounced the Seminoles 24-3 on Monday night, spoiling Taggart’s debut in his dream job. The Virginia Tech defense was dominant, registering a whopping 14 tackles for loss and causing four turnovers.

Florida State could only muster 94 rushing yards on 28 carries, with 85 of those yards coming on one Cam Akers carry. A few plays later, FSU squandered Akers’ big gain with a fumble on third-and-goal. That play was indicative of the sloppiness and lack of execution from the Seminoles in Week 1.

Even if Virginia Tech defenders faked a few injuries, it’s hard to say it had much of an impact on the outcome of the game.

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