Arkansas receiver Marquel Wade — ejected for an over-the-top flagrant hit on Vanderbilt punt return Jonathan Krause on Saturday — deserves a full-game suspension from the SEC.
As we’ve seen this season, Mike Slive usually hands down half-game suspension for fighting, flagrant fouls, cheap shots, etc. But Wade’s hit on Krause Saturday wasn’t a chop block to the knees or a haymaker thrown in anger… it was a dirty lick that could have left Krause seriously injured. Or worse.
After the hit, Wade celebrated as Krause lay on the ground. After his ejection, Wade had to be escorted to the Razorbacks’ locker room.
Krause eventually got up and returned to the game. He was lucky.
After the game, Bobby Petrino said that he didn’t see the hit. “It sounded like he hit him — the ball wasn’t even close to the returner. We have to be able to look up and recognize where the ball is and get away from him.”
But Wade needs a game off courtesy of the SEC office. Football is a brutal sport and good and bad decisions are made in milliseconds. This was not just a bad decision.
Wade launched himself into a defenseless punt returner. Then he celebrated the hit as his victim stayed on the ground. Then he seemed angry about his ejection.
It appears to us that he needs more time to come to a full understanding that the hit and the post-hit behavior aren’t acceptable and that the ejection was absolutely appropriate.
And to anyone who doesn’t think defending Wade is utter nonsense, please remove the plastic pig from off thy head and ask yourself what you would be saying today if a Vanderbilt gunner had launched himself helmet-first into the head of Arkansas return man Joe Adams… after he’d already signaled for a fair catch.
That’s what we thought.
Wade deserves a full week suspension. Such action would send a message to the player and to every other punt team gunner in the SEC — you can hit and hit hard… but you can’t hit dirty.
Even if Wade was 100% wrong, I'm still surprised by how harsh the criticism has been. The ONLY way anyone can justify such harsh criticism is by assuming that Wade acted maliciously with the intent to hurt Krause, but you know what they say about about assuming stuff, right?
Why is there an incident like this with Vandy each week, anyway?
Sorry, but I don't see the need for a suspension -- for the hit or for the "celebration."
Admittedly, I'm an Arkansas fan, but I'd like to believe a rational one who has no problem calling out my team's bad behavior. But what I saw Saturday was a mistake. No more, no less. It was ugly and it was embarrassing, but I simply don't believe there was intent. But perhaps Jon can see more clearly into the human heart and mind than can I.
As for the "celebration..." From my view 35 rows up on the 35-yard line behind the Arkansas bench, I had a pretty good perspective of the before and after as it unfolded.
What I saw: Wade popped up and bounced around, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the play was continuing behind him and/or that he'd been flagged. That much became clear to him after he got to the sideline and had his head chewed off by Petrino. Afterward he looked dejected, head hung down and seeming to plead his case to teammates.
Another matter entirely is his behavior as he was *ahem* escorted off the field. Thank goodness that the Arkansas assistant grabbed him and led him past the Vandy student section, because the kid was clearly very emotional and on the verge of further embarrassing actions. But it looked to me like a kid who screwed up, knew it, and was emotional (and acting out, regrettably) when he got kicked out. Perhaps he felt -- as I do -- that he reason he was suspended was because the Vandy player was injured (though thankfully not seriously) on the play. Had the Vandy player not been injured, I firmly believe Wade and Arkansas would have been assessed a much-deserved 15-yarder and nothing more.
Does it deserve a full-game suspension? The answer to that question comes down to intent. If he launched himself into the defenseless return man seeking to injure him -- one week isn't enough. If he didn't realize he was arriving far too early, one game seems excessive. The answer, of course is unknowable. Unless, I suppose, you're Marquel Wade or MrSEC.
At any rate, I enjoy the work Jon and the guys do. It's measured, thoughtful and unemotional.
Except in the case of this article, which appears to be the exception that proves the rule.
A Bama player hits a Florida punt returner, who did signal for a fair catch unlike the Vandy returner, before the ball arrives and leads with his helmet much more than Wade did and no outrage. SEC double standard BS.
Pennington's opinion is one of ignorance. THERE WAS NO FAIR CATCH SIGNAL. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.
Punt returners are often defensless. It is why they are given the option to call a fair catch. The Vandy returner failed to do so. If Wade had not have hit him and if he had caught the punt, the Hogs' starting MLB Jerry Franklin and backup safety Elton Ford were going to hit him immediately. Vandy needs to caoch their returners better and Pennington needs o get his facts right.
"And to anyone who doesn’t think defending Wade is utter nonsense, please remove the plastic pig from off thy head and ask yourself what you would be saying today if a Vanderbilt gunner had launched himself helmet-first into the head of Arkansas return man Joe Adams… after he’d already signaled for a fair catch"
We would be asking if the gunner was ok... You do remember what happened to the LSU safety who tried to remove his(Adams) head in Baton Rouge in 2009. That was the year when Adams came back after the stroke. That being said once it was discovered that he thought he had hit the man AFTER he made the catch it made his actions a little more understandable, not the mouthing off on the way out of the stadium, but the celebrating...
Marquel Wade at today's presser: "I really want to apologize to any embarrassment to the fans and the organization. ... I messed up. I take the rep for it, everything I did." -- as reported by ArkansasSports360.com
Your article was completely over-the-top. I've always enjoyed your stuff, but that was an uncalled for article, especially pointed at Razorback fans, the vast majority of which are calling for his suspension as well. I'm not sure what you mean by "defend his actions," because I agree that it was way too vicious of a hit, but it's his reaction to Coach Petrino and Coach Veltkamp was worthy of a game on the sideline and loss of gunner duties.
With the agreement that the hit was way to hard and his reaction immature: 1. It's not a fair catch if the referee does not acknowledge that the returner signaled for a fair catch (a la Connecticut 2009). The return man's brief windmill signal never saw his arm go more than horizontal. That's not a fair catch signal and the referee was spot-on in not acknowledging it. 2. Regardless of the Wade hit, the Vanderbilt return man lost the ball in the sun and SHOULD HAVE gotten away from it. He put himself and everyone around him in danger by running right into Arkansas gunners' paths. 3. Pause the video about a half-second before the hit and then forward it to where the ball actually hits. Notice that there is NO WAY the return man had a chance to reach the ball untouched, given that he ran right into TWO Arkansas gunners coming at full speed. 4. With #3 in mind, I understand that you have to give the return man room to make the catch, but this is a loophole. If what he did was okay, then what's to stop a returner from standing way behind a high punt, and then running full speed into the defenders in front of him? 5. I don't know what you mean by "celebration," but it looked to me like the kid popped up and headed straight to the sideline. Yes, he had a skip in his step, assuredly adrenaline, but Petrino did not mention any kind of "taunting" going on and there doesn't seem to be any celebration.
6. This much is certain: If the guy pops back up after the hit, there is no ejection, no senseless article by you, no national media attention. Just a penalty, a calming down of Wade on the sideline, and life goes on. He wanted to make a good play, and screwed up. There were no pure grounds for ejection other than injury.
And finally, when some DE or LB does something that to Tyler Wilson when he's defenseless as he lets the ball go, and he gets hurt (I'm worried that he will), then I want to see an article on here just as passionate, just as judgmental of Hog fans.
The punt coverage team is in an all-out sprint. The punt returner is shielding his eyes from the sun, not waving for a fair catch. Krause runs forward to field the ball as it's dropping shorter than he had anticipated. Wade should have altered his trajectory and given Krause a halo to catch the ball. Wade, given a split second to either a) let up, or b) anticipate a simultaneous catch and tackle, decides to make an aggressive play. His timing was off, and the result was a vicious hit.
Penalty deserved. Intentional cheap shot? No. Not a malicious hit. Not a flagrant foul.
His excessive celebration was uncalled for. Surely, he thought he'd just made a good play and didn't realize the severity of the hit. He was wrong to question authority while leaving the field. Since he was ejected, I consider it timed served and lesson learned. Football is a contact sport. Let's move on.
Uof A72:Thankful to see the Arkansas fans like yourself on here that agree this was despicable behavior. Hopefully we will all behave the same way as you when it is one of our own...because we all know that each of our schools have this attitude on our teams. We ALL do, whether we are willing to admit it or not. You are way ahead of the game, and have your football in the proper perspective. Blessings to you.
Have to agree with John, fair catch is signaled. Wade's view could have been blocked from this but the hit and behavior after the hit justify the one game suspension. He should also get some how to act mentoring by some senior players and coaches. Does he get tossed from the game, if he is saying he is sorry and on one knee on the field showing concern for the player he hit?
I don't think the fair catch issue is the point on this one. It was hard to see and it did look like he was just blocking the sun the way he did it. He never got his hand that far up in the air. The point is you don't lead with your helmet and you don't hit the receiver before the ball gets there. That's not even the worst part of it though, as the broadcasters even said. After he did it and the Vandy player is down, he starts taunting him. That alone deserves a full game there.
I watched the highlights Saturday night and I remember thinking this guy needs to get his A$$ kicked. The hit was bad, yes. But his actions after the hit and on the way to the locker room is what got me. Suspend him for a game and see how he handles it.
I too am a hog fan and agree he should be suspended. I also prefer it come from the team rather than from "on high." I have yet to hear any kind of explanation that gets to the bottom of this. Did he really think the guy had caught the ball? Was he simply taking a cheap shot? None of this would defend his actions, I just wish Petrino would address it. He has had time to watch tape and talk to Wade... How about now dealing with it publicly - it is certainly out there for public consumption.
Vanderbilt's new coaching staff trains and teaches a style of football that borders on unethical or to describe it very simply is barely legal and mostly dirty play. This type play is not generally taught (nor tolerated) by most other schools so the receiving team becomes increasingly frustrated and more vindictive as the game progresses thus the Vanderbilt intent (a la the UGA game among others). History shows that the teams most prone to this type play possess the fatalistic character gene of being a loser or having nothing to lose no matter how they play. I never would have thought that a school with Vanderbilt’s reputation would ever stoop to or condone such. Nonetheless and until it is rectified, to Vanderbilt's players then, “if you live by the sword, you will most assuredly die by the sword".
there was no fair catch signal, but there is no need for one for the foul that was called. Please see Chad Jackson helmet to helmet hit on said Joe Adams. That was a more brutal hit than what Wade delivered. The ejection was done because the crowd was riled? I thought the "celebration" deserved ejection, but the hit deserved flagrant and no more. The Vandy returner shielded his eyes and made a very late run to the ball which made the impact worse than had he known where the ball was coming down from the get go. Plenty of still photos that show it to be a first strike with the shoulder. In real time at the game it looked egregious and if Wade had not him early then Terrell Williams #25 would have because the punt retuner made that late run to field the ball. He looked like he was setting up to catch the punt about 10 yards upfield, the coverage team was reaching max acceleration and the result was violence. Kid shook off all the effects quickly. I know that courtesy of the Vandy med staff and I am a Vanderbilt physician who watched the game with a local special teams coordinator who said fine only if it happened in the NFL.
Were is the outrage and ejection the week before when the Ole Miss player took a flagarant hit on Dennis Johnson who had already been knocked down and the play blown dead when he was leveled when he came up????
What emotion do you see here? If a player launches himself head-first into another player -- in this case a defenseless player -- we'd say 100 times out of 100 that for safety's sake, a message should be sent with a suspension.
If I were anymore unemotional about this subject I'd be Mr. Spock.
Dead on. Chad Jones' hit on Joe Adams in 2009 was the worst helmet-to-helmet hit I've ever seen, but you know who got the blame for that? MALLETT. "He led his receiver too far," everyone said. Jones was vindicated by the national media, and everyone from Adams to Mallett to Petrino shared the blame for a hit that almost ended Adams' career.
So, yes, no one would care for Adams (as per usual) and would ask if the LSU gunner was okay (assuming it was LSU).
Wade's behavior after the EJECTION deserves some discipline from his coaches and what that ends up being isn't any of our business. The hit? Sure, let the SEC discipline him for that hit just as soon as they start doing so to everyone else, consistently. Tyler Wilson took vicious helmet-to-helmet hits from Bama well after the ball was gone, but no yellow flags. No chance of making an example of Bama I suppose.
This entire brouhaha is nothing more than mob-mentality piling on. It's the popular thing to stir the pot about today and get some hits for the old blog.
People keep saying Wade was taunting the Vandy player. I've yet to see one shred of evidence to that effect. I watched it in real time and saw the dozens of replays... not one time did I see any taunting of the injured player. But it's fun to pile on and join the mob isn't it?
The fair catch signal, if there was one, was extremely weak. Wade obviously thought the guy had the ball without having signaled fair catch. Then he strutted around, thrilled that he'd made a huge play, NOT KNOWING the guy was hurt. Getting there early, the helmet-to-helmet hit, and his behavior on the way to the locker room were all horrible. But to start adding to the story to help everyone crucify him is pretty horrible too.
I dedicated an entire column to the hit -- launching himself helmet first, celebrating -- and mentioned the fair catch -- which I've seen signaled with an arm swing thousands of times -- only as a means to "to make matters worse."
Yet some have decided to take issue with the fair catch comment. That most certainly was not the point. But in the internet age when everyone can read a story differently and focus on the minutiae of the verbage, that's what you get.
The point is -- it was a dirty play and the kid should get more than the usual one-half suspension to help him and others understand that those types of dangerous cheap shots -- which could have broken his neck, too -- won't be tolerated in the SEC.
I think he did think the guy had caught the ball. The guy was standing back waiting to catch the ball and realized it was coming down 5 yards forward and he surged right into the hogs going for the ball without call for a fair catch. So I can see how from Wades standpoint it might have seemed like he just caught the ball and was surging forward. I hope he learns to make sure he sees the ball in hand next time.
You're right. Hopefully Petrino realizes how the majority of Arkansas supporters feel If he does, he'll address the issue head on. If Petrino ignores this in hopes of it going away, IMO it will be the first disappointing thing he has done at Arkansas.
"it was a dirty lick that could have left Krause seriously injured. Or worse." -- just what are you implying that's worse than serious injury? "And to anyone who doesn’t think defending Wade is utter nonsense, please remove the plastic pig from off thy head" "That’s what we thought."
These words are emotionally charged, whether they're intended to be or not.
As stated in my original reply, I believe Wade's admittedly egregious penalty to be a mistake, not a wanton disregard for fair play and safety. You clearly disagree. Fair enough. There is room for able minds to differ in opinion. But when you declare anyone disagreeing with your opinion to be nonsensical and/or biased beyond the point of rationality, you've gone beyond the pale.
Truth is, you don't know any better than than the rest of us what was going through the young man's head before he decided to launch. Yes, he made a mistake. You have your opinion what he intended, but it's just that. Opinion. You present it as fact, rendering your argument weakened.
Nonetheless, I think you do a great job with this site and I look forward to reading it daily. I simply disagree with your opinion and the way it's presented in this case.
But Arkansas crazies are worth an entire paragraph for you, apparently.
Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy. You write something that inflammatory, directed at the entire Arkansas fanbase because you didn't really act as though it's only a small, small percentage, in a manner in which I have NEVER seen you address any fanbase ever. And then you link Bleacher Report, which I assume is a joke.
I'm very disappointed in this crap. The Arkansas fanbase as a whole is very disgusted by this play, but we understand that it was a freshman who was caught up in a dangerous situation trying to make a play. To treat us like a bunch of morons ("plastic pig head" was obviously derogatory, though I know you meant to reference the fact that Arkansas fans would defend it). The hard sarcasm at the end was language you've never addressed another fanbase with.
And as for Joe Adams mention, very poor sport considering Chad Jones' hit on Adams in 2009 that nearly ended his career. Jones was NOT ejected and was hailed as a hero and all forgiven when he apologized with "I thought the ball had arrived there already." Funny, same thing Wade said and yet he's still your villain.
Take up that "you're just looking for web hits" crap with the sites that run photos of guys at dinner and say, "Is so-and-so cheating?" We could get a lot more hits by running tabloid crap. We don't. We won't.
If it's on this site, I believe it.
What I can't believe is how many people took MAJOR offense to the fact that I said a player who launched himself, helmet-first into a defenseless player should be suspended for two halves instead of one.
And I say again, if this had been an Arkansas player on the receiving end of that hit not a single person complaining about this post would be whining one bit. They'd be calling for stiff punishment for the offending player.
This was simply an extreme version of an unnecessary roughness penalty. The "celebrating" which has been overhyped thanks in large part to Andre Ware's terrible commentating, and the "fair catch signal" that did not happen (again, thanks to Andre Ware) have both blown this whole thing out of proportion. Wade acting like an idiot on the sidelines didn't help any either. However, there are malicious helmet to helmet hits on qbs every week in cfb without anyone freaking out and wanting suspensions and whatnot. Yes, Arkansas fans would be mad had this happened to Joe Adams. I don't blame Vandy fans for being upset, but the media (MrSEC included) have vastly overreacted to this one penalized play.
He did not "clearly wave his left arm". He did, in fact, shield his eyes from the sun. Wade made a terrible play and deserved a personal foul for the hit itself. They "celebration" that has been discussed was no more celebration than you see on any other play throughout the course of a game. I truly do not believe that he was "celebrating" that the guy was injured. I think more than anything, the "celebration" illustrates that he didn't realize what he had done. No one on any team anywhere would celebrate a 15 yd penalty. Back to the fair catch (non) signal....obviously, the returner must have the opportunity to field the punt regardless of fair catch or not, BUT had he actually signalled for fair catch, then Wade's actions would be much more undefendable. Why don't you get your facts straight and simply ask the Vandy player whether he motioned for a fair catch or not before so boldly stating that he did so? I think you will be disappointed with the answer you get.
Good call Lupin. The main Arkansas fans are so fired up is because Tyler Wilson routinely gets drilled after he throws and while opponents lead with the helmet, and it has only been called once (Alabama). When he gets hurt with a dirty hit, I'm assuming Mr. SEC will put out a vicious article regarding the guy who hit him, and call out fans of that team.
Didn't think you were sending hidden messages, only that your tone was emotional and antagonistic because you stamped any dissenting views as "utter nonsense," and that you presumed to understand intent ("This was not a bad decision..."). Perhaps I misread, and if so, perhaps it's because I'm a fan. But I don't think so. You're not only one out there imbued with the ability to "turn down their fandom."
Of course the penalty was appropriate, and for multiple reasons (halo infraction, head-to-head hit, etc.). Never said it wasn't. And given the ugliness of the entire incident I had no issue with the ejection.
I don't think, however, that a full-game suspension is warranted. And yes, I'd feel precisely the same way if the roles were reversed.
As an aside: It's interesting that you reference the Merriweather hit; one in which a professional defense player, stopped, set up and (seemingly) targeted the head of a defenseless receiver. I might also use the same play as a contrast to the Wade hit; one in which a freshman wide receiver, running full speed down field, barreled into a defenseless receiver head first. Both are absolutely deserving of a penalty, and if Wade were a compensated professional, a fine would certainly be just. But that, in my opinion, is where the similarities end. Merriweather's sought the head, whereas Wade made a big, ugly mistake. Surely we can see the differences.
Having said my piece, I'll step away. Feel free to take the last word...
The tone of my writing? But it was a dirty lick. How else could it be described. A love tap? An accidental grazing?
Let me try to answer your points:
1. What am I implying? I'm implying a hit where one guy launches himself helmet-first into another guy's helmet could leave a player paralyzed or dead. The list of paralyzed players is too long already. (I was in the stands the day Penn State's Adam Taliaferro was paralyzed in a game with Ohio State. That will change your perspective on vicious, unnecessarily dangerous hits.)
2. Who other than a staunch Razorback fan would see that play as anything other than a dirty hit. I learned a long time ago that if I say someone should be suspended or penalized, etc, I'll be ripped to shreds by people saying I hate their school and/or I must love some other school. So I knew what was coming in writing that Wade should get more than the usual half-game suspension and get a full-game suspension instead. So I tried to fend those attacks off by pointing out that if the roles were reversed, Hog fans would be upset with a Vandy player slamming into the head of an Arkansas player. I don't see the problem in his. (And sure enough, look at about half the comments under this story.)
3. So you don't think that was a dirty hit? You don't think Wade tee'd up Krause and then launched himself head-first into him? If you don't, then fine. But if you do, then surely you see why such plays need to carry a penalty.
4. I didn't claim to know what was going through Wade's head. It doesn't matter what was going through his head. Did he just want to deliver a big hit... so he launched himself? Or did he want to hurt Krause... so he launched himself? Doesn't matter. By launching himself for a helmet-to-helmet hit he put Krause and himself in danger. That's not an opinion. That IS a fact.
I've made my arguments pretty clear.
And as expected, a few Arkansas fans -- and not many other people -- say I'm reading into Wade's intentions (which matters not one iota), that I didn't call for an Alabama player to be suspended earlier this year (when that player wasn't even ejected from his game), that my whole argument is based on the fact that I said Krause signaled for a fair catch (which had zip to do with me calling for a full-game suspension), etc, etc.
My whole point is this -- when a player puts himself and another player at risk with what 99% of the people would call a dirty hit and then he does a bob-up-and-down, hop move while the injured player lays on the ground, that player needs to be suspended so he and other players will come to realize that that's dangerous, unacceptable behavior. Period.
It frustrates me that not everyone can turn off their fandom. I've been a Patriots fan since I was just a boy. I've traveled to see them play all over the Eastern half of the country. I love them the way fans here love their favorite college team. But last year, when then-Patriot Brandon Meriweather delivered this helmet-to-helmet hit to Todd Heap of the Ravens, I wanted Meriweather cut. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2iGzAJIHX8
It didn't matter that he played for my team. It was a bush league hit and he should've been dropped by the Kraft family immediately. (This offseason, he was.)
But when the NFL fined Meriweather for that hit, there were Pats fans who defended him. "The league is just out to get New England." "Writers calling it a cheap shot must be Steeler fans." Blah, blah, blah.
In reality, illegal, dangerous plays are illegal and dangerous regardless of who's doling them out.
But I appreciate the kind words about the site. I only wish you didn't think I was delivering hidden messages with my tone or displaying some sort of emotional bias against Arkansas in this particular piece. Because I wasn't.
I try, not always successfully, to be objective and put truth and justice ahead of trivial sports allegiances. I think you probably do too. I am frustrated by the hoards of people who don't.
I'd say there is a lack of objectivity on both sides of this discussion. A passionate Alabama fan would be as ready to cut Wade zero slack as an Arkansas fan would be ready to cut him some. I doubt you get many comment posts on here from impartial supreme court justices.
Wade deserved the flag. Maybe he deserved the ejection. He definitely deserves some coach-imposed discipline for his post-ejection behavior. But he doesn't deserve the exaggeration of what he did that many are spouting.
Wilson did not play the entire game against Alabama. Both teams seemed to me to TARGET hits on the querterback. Obviously players will go full speed to sack a QB and not be able to stop sometimes when the ball is released. When it is a strategy to do this, it is certainly much more unethical than Wade's hit. None the less, Wade's hit was a serious error in judgement and should be penalized. Thank god the neither of them were hurt.