When Will Shipley learned there was no targeting call on Georgia Tech linebacker Kyle Efford, the Clemson running back got noticeably upset on the sideline.
Why? As Shipley was going down on a third quarter run last Saturday, Efford drilled Shipley in the back of the head with the crown of his helmet.
Targeting was obvious to the 81,000 at Memorial Stadium and to the millions watching on television.
Even ABC announcers Mark Jones and Louis Riddick felt there should have been a targeting call on the play. However, there was not one, and Shipley let his frustration be known.
“It was frustration that it was not even being reviewed for a targeting call,” Shipley said. “I think everybody has a role to play and everybody has a responsibility.
and I absolutely love the refs and the work they put in, but I believe it is their responsibility to keep the players safe.
“I was frustrated because I did not think they were doing their part.” Shipley was even more frustrated because he was just getting back from another potential targeting call that was not called,
which led to him being knocked unconscious at NC State on Oct. 28. Shipley missed the Notre Dame game on Nov. 4 after being targeted in the back of his neck by the Wolfpack’s Shyheim Battle.
He was forced to sit out against the Irish because he was not cleared to practice during the week due to concussion protocols.
“I understand I chose to play football and it is a violent game, but I was trying to protect myself,” Shipley said.
“The past two big (hits), the NC State hit and now that one, were direct head-to-head contact.
There is not much I can do about it. I got hit in the back of the head, so I think that is where you saw the frustration come from.”
Shipley’s frustration was understandable because both hits could have been worse than they turned out to be.
The junior was hit in the back of the neck at NC State, which literally knocked him out. He later said he did not know what happened until he went back and watched the game.
Fortunately, Shipley was able to return in the Tigers’ 42-21 win over Georgia Tech. He finished the game with 77 yards on 11 carries. He scored on a 32-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“Probably the biggest concern for me was that was the first time I was knocked unconscious,” Shipley said.
“It’s really the first season I thought about my head and what can happen to it. I think (the frustration with official) definitely stimmed from that.
“It was my first game back. I was a little timid, hesitant going into the game, as I think any athlete in my case would be.”
Shipley and the Tigers will play No. 22 North Carolina on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.