Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson objected to Duke coach David Cutcliffe’s comments about cut blocks in Saturday’s game, won 38-14 by the Yellow Jackets. After the game, Cutcliffe called cut blocks a safety issue and proposed eliminating from the game.
“My only response would be, let’s see how many (Duke) defensive starters are out for their game Saturday vs. Pitt,” Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “It’ll be easy to look up and see. They cut block us as much as we cut block them is what’s hilarious.”
Cutcliffe was particularly referring to downfield cut blocks, in which players block defenders below the waist. Tech's running backs and wide receivers often use cut blocks on linebackers and defensive backs, as do Tech's offensive linemen along the line. However, as Johnson noted, cut blocking is a fairly common practice.
“There’s a lot of movement out there (on the perimeter),” Cutcliffe said following the game. “Player safety is such a big issue and blocking below the waist in high school is gone. There’s a lot of talk about it in the NFL right now, so I’ll let the rules makers worry about that, but right now, every rule that really has been a major change in the game has been from the emphasis of player safety, so we’ll see where it is.”
He went on to advocate making cut blocks illegal.
“The rules are so hard to understand,” he said. “The officials can’t officiate it, in my opinion. That’s why I’m a proponent to just take it out of the game. It’s easier to officiate, it’s safer for the kids. That’s kind of the reason.”
Johnson said he would support such a change if the claim of Cutcliffe and others could be proven.
“I would be the first guy if you can give me some data and show me some proof that more guys get injured that way,” he said. “Nobody wants to hurt anybody, but nobody can do it. Every time it comes up, I go, ‘Well, where’s the research?’ Surely, somebody can research that. You’ve got videotape, you’ve got film. You can go back and look and see. There’s probably a reason nobody’s done it.”