Cal visits No. 9 Oregon on Thursday night, and the safe bet is that the Bears won't be employing the same tactics they did last year.
While there was speculation that several other opponents employed similar tactics to slow down Oregon's lightning-paced offense, Cal was the only school on record for any wrongdoing. A video clip that made the rounds on the Internet clearly demonstrated the guilt.
After a play in the second quarter during Cal's 15-13 loss to Oregon at Memorial Stadium, an isolated television shot showed nose tackle Aaron Tipoti look to the sideline and suddenly crumble to the turf in "pain," but not before he shuffled over to the football so he could land on top of it.
With pressure from the Pac-10 office, Cal investigated the incident and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi admitted he instructed his players to fake injuries to try to slow the Ducks' pace. Lupoi was suspended for the Bears' season finale against Washington.
The suspension was a bitter pill to swallow for Lupoi, a former Bears defensive end.
"You always have to be thinking ahead. Every action you take, there could be a consequence involved," Lupoi said. "You have to evaluate every action you take. You have to be held responsible for your actions at all times.
"I'm moving on. The consequence was served, and I took responsibility for what happened. The way this job works, you don't have time to dwell on the past, good or bad. I think that's where your focus has to be -- living in the moment and trying to get better."
Oregon coach Chip Kelly said no opponent has attempted that strategy this season, perhaps partly because Cal took action.
"We took responsibility," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It's done. We're moving on."
The Ducks led the nation in scoring (47 points per game) and total offense (530.69 yards per game) last season, running a no-huddle spread option that can test the endurance of a defense because of minimal time between plays to make substitutions and get lined up correctly.
The NCAA rule book doesn't include penalties for faking injuries because it's so hard to enforce. Officials can't determine whether a player is really injured or not.
But the tactic is mentioned in a section dealing with coaching ethics, stating that "Feigning an injury for any reason is unethical. An injured player must be given full protection under the rules, but feigning injury is dishonest, unsportsmanlike and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity."
When asked if he felt singled out since other teams appeared to also be employing similar tactics, Lupoi said: "Regardless if every opponent did it in the previous weeks, it doesn't make it OK and it doesn't mean that we or I can match the behavior of others. Regardless of what everyone else is doing, it doesn't make something OK."