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Just Six Players Ejected From Opening Week Games, But It’s Way Too Soon To Declare New Rule A Success

the-bootCollege football’s new targeting rule — and the ejection penalty that accompanies it — was enforced (it appears) just six times during the opening week of the college football season.  According to former SEC head of officials and current NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding, that shows that there has been no year-to-year uptick in the number of targeting calls made.

So far so good.  But while some suggest that “it doesn’t look like the worries about the new rule are merited,” we feel it’s still a bit early for a victory dance.  Many schools spent Week One feasting on cupcakes.  Once the meat of the new season arrives and more in-conference battles commence, that’s when the rule will really be scrutinized.  When a player from one team is ejected, you can expect that team’s fanbase to pepper the media and messageboards with video clips and photos of plays for which they feel their opponent should have been flagged.

Of the six players tossed last week, only one came from the SEC — Texas A&M’s Deshazor Everett.  The cornerback was ejected and his team penalized 15 yards for this hit:


Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett ejected for targeting, new NCAA rule


The player who was hit on that play — Rice tight end Klein Kubiak — tweeted after the game that it was a “solid physical football hit.”  Some will view that hit as being clean (as Kubiak does).  Others will view it as straight-up targeting.  And that’s the problem with the rule.  Even when looking at a replay, the definition of the targeting rule is so broad that there’s really no way to tell if a play is or isn’t ejection-worthy.

Only six heave-hos in Week One is a good thing.  But we suspect this rule will still turn into a bad thing — despite the good intentions behind it — sooner rather than later.

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