North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said Monday that Tar Heels offensive tackle Kiaro Holts had no "malicious intent" when he clipped star South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney behind his knees Thursday in UNC's season-opening loss to the Gamecocks. According to newsobserver.com, Fedora said his player was nevertheless disciplined as any other player would be who was flagged for a personal foul.
The play drew immediate criticism from television announcers and media:
"Oh, yeah. We talked to him. I mean, he got a personal foul. He clipped, but it was within the play -- it was not after the play. We disciplined him, just like we do all of our players, for who gets a personal foul that hurts the football team. But if you really look at it, Kiaro got beat, he got beat bad. And he's trying to recover and trying to cut the player. I don't think he cared who it was. But he was trying to keep that guy away from Bryn (Renner). He doesn't know that the ball is already thrown. He doesn't know that the guy is already turning to look down the field. I mean, he's just trying to recover. There was no malicious intent. All the conspiracy theories that are out there -- there was no truth to any of that."
Clowney limped off the field after the clip, but later returned to the game. Plays like that, however, are why it would be more surprising if Clowney stayed in college another year than if he leaves a year early.