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NC State’s coach clarifies comment about his defense injuring a Clemson running back

A hit to an opponent’s head isn’t exactly something to celebrate.

In Week 7, Clemson running back Wayne Gallman got hit by NC State DB Dravious Wright.

There was no flag thrown on this play, but there should have been, if you take a look at how the NCAA defines targeting:

No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet.

Wright clearly contacted Gallman with the crown of his head. Gallman was looked at on the field by trainers, then taken to the locker room for further evaluation. He didn’t return to the game.

Gallman fumbled on the play, and it was recovered by NC State’s Airius Moore in advantageous field position. The turnover erased an 18-yard Clemson gain that extended Clemson’s first drive of the day.

Several days later, NC State head coach Dave Doeren praised his defense for, among other things, “knocking their tailback out of the game.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney briefly responded:

“I don’t spend a lot of time watching coaches’ shows,” Swinney said. “I did hear that, though. I talked to Dave and we talked about that. We’ve moved on. We’re getting ready for Florida State”

Doeren later clarified the comment to ESPN’s David Hale, saying in part:

My comments came in response to a question about what we did well in the game, how physical we were, that we stopped the run. It had nothing to do with being excited about injuring another player. I feel like a lot of that was taken he wrong way. That's not something we prioritize ever is injuring somebody. But we are a physical team that takes pride in playing a physical way. That play was not a penalty. I'd like to remind people of that.

Gallman believes the play was intentionally dirty and would’ve merited retaliation.

"Yeah. Pretty much. He didn't lead with his hands," Gallman said to media. "He just came with his head. I saw it everywhere. I wanted somebody that was in the game to hurt him if they could, since I wasn't able to be in."