In his Tuesday press conference, Gus Malzahn brought it up right out of the swinging gate.
“The first thing I would like to do is address the Anthony Swain injury that has gathered a lot of attention,” Malzahn said. “At the time, I did not see it happen.”
But the cameras did. Really well. Swain collapsed to the field seemingly for no reason with two seconds left in the third quarter of Auburn’s win over Arkansas. ESPN broadcasters were convinced Swain was faking the injury presumably to slow Arkansas down after the Razorbacks made a first down with the same “Swinging Gate” formation Auburn has run several times this year.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema made headlines last week by kinda sorta hinting that Auburn had maybe possibly intentionally edited out footage of the formation from the game film sent Arkansas.
Earlier this year, Bielema claimed hurry-up offenses like Auburn’s were endangering the lives of young Americans. Malzahn thought he was joking. The real concern related to the hurry-up offense, he said, should be players faking injuries to slow it down.
So, sure, some saw Swain’s swoon as spite. The word “gamesmanship” was used a lot. Totally understandable, Malzahn said.
“After seeing the TV copy, I can see why people question it,” Malzahn said. “I have coached for 23 years and I have never told any player to fake an injury. I promise you this, moving forward, there will be no questionable issues like that again. That is all I am going to say about it.”