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Citadel OL: We were 'going for knees'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Citadel guard Victor Hill wrote in an online post that the Bulldogs' offensive line was intentionally "going for the knees" in Saturday's game against top-ranked Florida State, which lost three defensive linemen to injury in the 37-12 win.

Hill, a 275-pound senior, admitted The Citadel's approach Sunday in a posted response to a story by the Post and Courier, which focused on Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher's thoughts about the Bulldogs' cut-blocking techniques.

"Me and my offensive line brothers preached to each other all week that we would be going for knees from the first play to the last play with the A-backs included. We saw it as if they [won't] respect us for blocking them then we'll make them respect us for cutting them!"

The Citadel OG Victor Hill, in online comment to The Post and Courier

Seminoles starting defensive tackles Eddie Goldman and Nile Lawrence-Stample, along with reserve Justin Shanks, all suffered first-half lower leg injuries. Goldman was seen with his left foot in a walking boot and walking very gingerly with the aid of a cane after the game.

"I played in the game last night and also contributed to the injury list and that was just the mindset going into the game," Hill wrote in his post. "Me and my offensive line brothers preached to each other all week that we would be going for knees from the first play to the last play with the A-backs included. We saw it as if they [won't] respect us for blocking them then we'll make them respect us for cutting them!"

First-year Bulldogs coach Mike Houston quickly responded with a statement condemning Hill's comments.

"In no way does one person's words reflect the philosophy and mindset of our program, players and coaches," Houston's statement read in part. "I am very disappointed in Victor Hill's choice of words which do not convey the way I feel the game of football should be played or coached. I have addressed the matter with Victor and he will be disciplined accordingly. The Citadel Football program always strives to do things in a first class manner on and off the field."

Hill also apologized in a statement Sunday.

"I would like to sincerely apologize for my statements this morning," Hill said in his statement. "I am both embarrassed and ashamed of my comments. They reflect in no way, shape or form how I am taught or coached to perform. I am truly sorry for my immature comments that were made out of frustration ... I apologize to Coach Jimbo Fisher, his players and the FSU fans for my negative remarks."

Fisher did not criticize The Citadel's blocking or claim foul play, but he did say he would prefer not to play cut-blocking teams any longer. He did not have any update on how long his injured linemen would be out, but said it was "no doubt" a concern of his.

"When you play these kinds of teams, they're constantly cutting those knees and ankles," Fisher said. "Nothing illegal about it, but that's just football. ... Those guys that cut and chop like that, it gets crazy. I'd rather play more conventional teams just because the chance of the injuries that occur."

A few of the Florida State's players felt differently, including star defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.

"I don't think they were necessarily taught to do high-low [blocks], but it's the heat of the game and they're supposed to try and get their guy, or they get messed up and they do a high-low," Edwards said. "But they did it numerous times, and I didn't feel like the ref was calling it."