Joel Klatt didn’t agree with targeting calls made against Nebraska in the Buckeyes 52-17 win. For once, we don’t agree with Klatt.
For the most part, you won’t find a more knowledgeable college football analyst than Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt. Klatt is a straight shooter and tells it like he sees it… and most of the time he has really insightful takes.
During Saturday’s Ohio State game vs. Nebraska, the Cornhuskers were flagged several times for targeting, leading to two player ejections. Klatt got heated while the reviews were happening, sharing his opinion that he didn’t believe that the Husker players in question did anything wrong in the actual speed of real-time gameplay. Klatt even went on to try and sway the Buckeye faithful watching the game, comparing the hits made against Ohio State receivers yesterday to the hit that got Shaun Wade ejected in the Fiesta Bowl last season. Here’s why I believe he’s wrong.
Klatt tweeted out that the targeting rule needs to be changed and I do agree with that to an extent. While the spirit of the rule is good, the interpretation needs to be fixed.
When Shaun Wade hit Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the National Semi-Final, he was in position to make a perfect form tackle. Lawrence saw Wade coming at the last second and ducked into that hit, causing a helmet to helmet collision. Unless you’re a Tiger fan, I think we can all agree with Klatt here that this is a “normal action of football” and the player should stay in the game.
The difference yesterday is that the Nebraska defenders who were ejected launched themselves into defenseless receivers. But what exactly is targeting? The NCAA rules committee defines it as this: “initiating contact against a defenseless opponent and/or with the crown of the helmet.”
Specifically, launching is defined as:
A player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area.
The first ejection of Cam Taylor-Britt may have been questionable in real-time, although he clearly lowered his head to make helmet to helmet contact. The second ejection of Deontai Williams was a blatant launching into the head/neck area.
I agree, Joel… the rule needs to be looked at for better interpretation and room for live-action gameplay. However, this wasn’t the case yesterday and the calls were made.
Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.
We have a forum and message board now. Get in on the conversation about Ohio State athletics by joining the Buckeyes Wire Forum.