“But it is making it more difficult for a guy just to get after it and play hard and fast.”

Mark Richt reflects on the consequences of the SEC’s new attention to the targeting rule.

“The kind of hits that (former UGA safeties) Thomas Davis and Greg Blue made, I just don’t know if they’d have played very often,” UGA coach Mark Richt said on his Monday night radio show, “because they were so physical and they got after it so much.

I’m not sure I’m ready to go quite that far just yet, but I do worry, as does Richt, about whether all the emphasis being put on the rule – and the need to avoid penalties and suspensions from its violation – is going to cause players to think more and react less quickly.  At least until Nick Saban figures out the cheat to it.

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60 Comments

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60 responses to ““But it is making it more difficult for a guy just to get after it and play hard and fast.”

  1. When these boys get after it; it is hard to hold back. Sabin is coaching as we speak on how to get around this rule.

  2. Brandon

    It’s a stupid stupid rule. Unless the intent to do malicious harm is abundantly clear they need to let them play. Everybody knows you can get hurt playing football going on. In trying to remove all the danger out of life we are simultaneously removing all of the joy.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    It’s a lawsuit thing. The defense lawyers and liability insurance companies are driving this rule.

    • Macallanlover

      Careful, I said that previously and was accused of being callous. This interpretation will dramatically change football as it is currently played and the officials will apply this unevenly to the point players and coaches will have no idea what they should b doing. It started with the idea that helmets should never touch one another. If so, outlaw helmets. Silver needs to back off this silliness, looks even dumber than he did in 2010.

    • The Lone Stranger

      -1 to the cold-blooded insurers.

  4. In the words of the immortal “Mammy”: It ain’t fitten; it ain’t fitten’ it just ain’t fitten!

  5. What fresh hell is this?

    I understand what you guys are saying, but since when has good tackling technique been about launching your body forward with arms at your waist and the crown of your helmet buried in someones earhole? I know its considered cool and all, and it gets the crowd amped-up, but these kind of hits often end up being missed tackles (and sometime end up with someone paralyzed). How many times do you see a player attempt to just knock someone down and the ball carrier bounces off and runs away? Are you telling me it’s not possible to lay a bonecrushing hit on someone without helmet to helmet contact?

    Say what you will about Saban, but his players wrap.

  6. Mayor of Dawgtown

    How do you get around this rule? Simple. Go low. The cure may be worse than the disease though.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      No need to go low, bury your shoulder in the sternum.

      • Rhymer Dawg

        Even in the sternum area can cause serious damage if the breastbone is damaged. The impact of the force on the sternum is exposed and not covered by shoulder pads. So the issue of internal injuries is next. I am just seeing this whole issue as being a slippery slope. Not trying to be negative here just trying to say that the problem is not as simple as the NCAA, SEC office, and the medical profession are making it out to be.

        They seem to be saying that if we protect WR from targeting penalties then these organizations will be protected from lawsuits or WR from having serious damage.Just don’t see that as being simple. The only real solution is the avoid the F=ma part of physics but since that can’t be done then we should just play flag football. *sarcastic font implied*.

        • What fresh hell is this?

          As a parent or a player, I’d sure take my chances with a shot anywhere other than helmet to helmet.

        • Rick

          Whether something can conceivably be injured is almost entirely irrelevant. All that matters is likelihood. I cannot recall the last punctured lung I heard about that was sustained from a football hit. I can, however, recall a few dozen concussions just off the top of my head (and have no doubt heard of a thousand or more over the years).

          Either way, it’s the brain, injuries to which can destroy families in an instant (or, just as bad, over the course of many years). We must err on the side of protecting the central nervous system. For everything else (including horrific knee injuries and compound fractures), you can stand on much more solid ground when arguing that it’s ‘just the risk of playing the game’.

        • Dboy

          eh, a sternum injury aint a head or neck injury. These rule are to prevent serious head injuries, particularly concussions.

          • The Lone Stranger

            Can it really be that difficult and cost-ineffective to develop a more shock-resistant halmet? I mean, put “the all-powerful” Nike on the case. Don’t they make you run faster with their $150 shoes [sarcasm intended]? Maybe they, in partership with some plastics cushioning people, could do something philanthropic for all those whose likenesses they’ve traded off to sell their products. A man can dream, yes?

        • Cojones

          Rhymer, the hard hits can still produce injury; yes, and the helmet-to-helmet-launched hits can produce life-threatening injury. Injury in football is usually internal, depending upon which bone, muscle or sinew is affected, but doesn’t lead to death or life-changing injury as much as helmet to helmet on vulnerable players. The best example I could use is from the bruised lung suffered by Ware when he spat blood after a hit to the sternum. That’s one helluva blow and he recovered after 2-3 games, but he didn’t die.

          I get, approve and support this attempt to lower life-changing and -ending hits, that by policing afterwards will produce a safer game for the players and won’t diminish the game one whit. And I don’t think it will domesticate or swerve players from making a good football play.

          As has been pointed out by others, how would you like your son or daughter exposed to a callousness for their lives in any sport? Some of you truly have short memories when it comes to praying for a player laying still on the field. Rules changes to preserve life and limb are good, otherwise we can start building Roman Forums again. I submit that if we permit these hits to continue, we will certainly lose our edge for the game since it will no longer be one.

          • Rhymer Dawg

            I am not saying that the rule is wrong. Nor am I saying that the intention is correct. I am just concerned with the fact that no one is stating the fact that we are over-correcting the matter. The issue is with the refs not calling the game fairly. They have allowed this stuff to continue but to make this a matter of “super-safety” and to suspend players like this is just too much over compensation.

            it is not like these rules are new. Neither is it the fact that players have been injured. I can site the Reggie Brown incident and cry out for a call there and an outcry to no avail. Where was all this banter from the league when that occurred? Where was all this complaining from the fans outside of UGA?

            Such as it is. The refs are to blame for not calling the game. Take for example the Ole Miss game where no flag was thrown. What happened to the refs that did not throw the flag? Were they suspended for a game as well or were they thrown out of the league.

            I think people are asking the wrong questions and trying to get answers that are way to subjective.

          • Rhymer Dawg

            Aside from your logical fallacy of an appeal to emotion, I will concur with the need to call the play fairly. What I don’t agree with is the fact that people want to cite player injuries to these hits without proper comparison to hits that have occurred without player injury. To try and appeal to anyone that injury could happen in a life-threatening way to police something is a very dangerous slippery slope. Where will it end? The only logical regression is that no one should play football.

            When we start making decision upon what could happen we find ourselves just sitting on the mental toilet. The only things that can happen are to teach players better, which is being done according to the coaches and get the refs to call the penalty.

            Chance is real and could happen to anyone. You could go home from work today and cause a head injury to someone else because you lost focus on your driving because you were talking on the phone or texting. But the fact of the matter is people still do it and people don’t saying anything to others when they do it. What should we say then… more litigation, more laws. No we just enforce the ones we have and if the people that are responsible for not enforcing the rules are not doing their job; then we need to get someone else to do that job. This is the way to achieving the desired result.

            To bring it full circle. Punishing players and teams with game suspensions may work for a little while but the real enforcers are the refs on the field. They need to do their job better and need to held accountable more so than the players.

            • Cojones

              I agree with much that you say . We disagree as to what it will lead to for the game. The significant difference is not left in the hands of the ref on the field so the subjective events for football conjured up by calling these egregious hits during the game are red herrings to logic. The suspensions are called only after analysing in slow motion whether there could have been intent to do harm instead of just loosening the ball. I’m OK with that and realize that there are those plays that I may disagree with, but not enough to not make the call.

              You make your point well, but I believe there is enough evidence for the pivotal reasoning in calling the suspension later being used to protect players without changing the nature of the game (according to some who have that subjective reasoning).

      • I agree with your point, Wfhit?, but the reality is that even hits to the sternum are being flagged as targeting. I’ve seen several hits where the player led with his shoulder, and hit the opposing player either in the shoulder or in the chest, and the play was flagged.

        When the players are flying around, it is nearly impossible to tell who was maliciously hit with the helmet, or had “contact above the shoulders” of a “defenseless receiver.” There just isn’t much difference between a hit in the sternum and a hit in the head… like six inches, maybe? Asking referees to decipher that at game speed is impractical. I think it is better to not call the penalty unless it is egregious, and then let Slive hand out discipline after the fact. At least then, you have the tool of hindsight and replay to make an informed decision. At this point, the practical application is that all big hits are illegal. If that is what the sport wants, then say that. Don’t try to draw a razor-thin distinction and have humans make split-second decisions on which side of the razor a collision fell.

        • What fresh hell is this?

          I absolutely agree with not throwing the flag unless the hit is egregious, but some guys are making it too easy to call with the earhole shots

          • Cojones

            And I support Trey’s opinion that the slo-mo call after the game makes it a specific call for suspension by Slive’s staff. The ref’s only call the egregious hits as they see them and not necessarily are they differentiating as to where the helmet landed. They don’t call for suspension, so how are they involved in calling for it during the game?

            The refs call the hits in real time whereas Slive’s staff calls the suspensions after careful consideration. It doesn’t change the game that we have been watching for years.

  7. mwo

    Some coach a couple of years ago (maybe Paterno?) had a great idea how to stop this tackling method. He said just remove the facemasks from helmets.

  8. Rhymer Dawg

    I agree with CMR and the issue with the receivers dropping their heads to initiate a targeting penalty. I think that the concept of defenseless players is extremely subjective and has way to much flexibility for the crazy eyes of the refs and the SEC office. The players wear pads and helmets to make sure they are not defenseless, but I know that is not what is meant.

    TK is right as well. There are plenty of guys who don’t play football because they don’t want to get hit. There are even guys who play football who don’t want to go across the middle because of these types of hits.

    As far as a fix, going low has its own problems. There could be more damage done to defensive players by going low and getting their heads knocked off, figuratively, by making contact with a leg that is traveling at 20 mph. I can remember seeing several times where guys going low and taking a shot by a leg to head hit and getting knocked out. I am not so sure that there is a way to get around the overprotective eyes of the refs and SEC office.

    I just look at this situation and say if the refs had been calling it right back in 2004 then we would not be in this situation in the first place. But now that we are something has to be done and players take the brunt of the failure of the refs to do their jobs.

    • Cojones

      Those are accidents that you mention, not deliberate attempts to coldcock the player who is unprotected while catching the ball. I don’t want players like Bennett and Conley (they seem to catch more over the middle than most of our receivers) or any receivers suffering life-threatening chickenshit hits for the sake of other’s viewing pleasure. Stopping these hits will not impact the game of football for me except for the piece of mind when one of our receivers makes a great reception in traffic without risking his future.

      • Rhymer Dawg

        That is exactly my point. According to the rules and damnation of the SEC office to curtail these types of hits there is no distinction between an accident that CMR and myself can conceive and the coldcocking, chickenshit hits that you describe. To make a discernible difference between the two at the speed of the game is to measure intent. The ability to measure intent is something that is not addressed in the rules clearly enough or fastidious enough to be a real way in which we can distinguish between the two possible events.

        A way to measure intent is for the refs to be able to do their jobs better and actually call the plays as they see them and be held to a much higher standard than they are. The other way to measure intent is not to teach head-hunting to others. To train them on how to tackle.

        The manner in which the SEC has gone to build a regressive approach to enforce a rule that was already in place is idiotic.

        • Cojones

          Can’t disagree overall. Your last sentence is true, except for the way the League is looking at the NCAA rule as to it’s intentions. The rule was made to stop the kind of hits they are reviewing and suspending for. The speed of the game doesn’t allow that and the refs only call the 15 yarder part. I think that a precise and purposeful review of hits is warranted or else take the rule off the books. Many calls in CFB are left to the discretion of refs: the out-of-bounds hit, the late hit to the QB, the hit in the back without getting the helmet in front of the player sufficiently, the pass interference rule….there are many more… suffice it to say that this rule and the call doesn’t impact the subjective call of a ref any more than those subjective-call rules that have been established for some time in this game.

          Are we getting worked up over a rule that is being policed in the only manner available? I submit that we are.

          • Rhymer Dawg

            I can agree that we are getting work up. But the question is should we be worked up? I would say yes. We have been brought up believing in rules exist to ensure player safety. While those rules were not being enforced, the head-hunters thrived. As a result we see that these measures are the only means available. What I contend is that there is nothing to stop this situation from happening again unless those that are responsible for enforcement are not held in check. This is the reason why I contend for refs to be better and the SEC to hold those responsible for enforcement to a higher standard, with judicious punishments. We are in a situation that could have been avoided. While the reality is that we are here. How do we prevent it from happening again?

  9. 202dawg

    I think it’s a simple fix; offsetting penalties for the receiver (for dropping the head, if warranted) and defender (for targetting, if warranted).

  10. Normaltown Mike

    “The kind of hits that (former UGA safeties) Thomas Davis and Greg Blue made…”

    This just means more opportunities for guys like Reshad Jones.

  11. Site me a situation were there was serious injury to the head. Very, very few I am sure. Going low is the cause of the most common injuries. We have knee injuries every Saturday all over college football.

  12. Scorpio Jones, III

    Get the picture now…..late in the game….score tied.

    A receiver from Vanderbilt University goes up to catch a pass. Bacarri Rambo of the University of Georgia waits till the receiver catches the ball, then says to the receiver from Vanderbilt University…..”Excuse me sir, but would you mind dropping the ball? If you don’t, then I am going to have to make contact with your body.”

    The receiver from Vanderbilt University is so swayed by Rambo’s polite discussion of the situation he drops the ball.

    The ball goes over to Georgia on downs, Mike Bobo calls three dive plays and the game is over, Georgia wins.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Scorpio, shame on you. Larry never said ‘get the picture now.’ He just said ‘Get The Picture.’

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Never? Never is a long, long time…I know for an absolute fact he said it before the Texas A&M game in 1980, and again, in 1997 in Lexington.

        Hey, all the above could be true and more.

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    Oh…in the scene setter, I forgot to mention the ball was at Vandy’s 14-yard line.

    • More yet, even before start of games, officials measure WR/TE of Vandy vs UGA. The officials then declare automatic suspensions for UGA safeties and cornerbacks as they are stronger, faster and better players, just the right recipe for a disastrous block.

      • Cojones

        I don’t get where some are coming from. Do you think that the ref calls suspensions in games? He can throw players out for fighting, but he only calls a 15 yarder for these hits (if he picks them up). The League is calling the suspensions after reviewing and analysing after the game. Will it affect us wrongly some day? Yeah. Is there more good than bad that can happen from these calls? You bet! And they should continue calling these plays from the game film.

  14. Okay, SJ3rd you call the games on close circuit radio.

  15. JAX

    I’d rather listen to pigs screw that hear Paula Dean speak.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      There’s a difference?

    • Cojones

      Leave Paula alone before she whips up a cardiac arrest takeout using those two pigs.

    • Macallanlover

      I don’t know if you mean content, or accent. I don’t care much about what she says, or does, but I find her voice a pleasant change from most of those I hear on TV. Plus, she is my “home girl” so the accent sounds very cultured and trustworthy to me.

      • Cojones

        Yes, she’s from Albany which is very near where I grew up and had bragged so when her cookery took off. I like her fine Southern accent also. However,the dishes she makes generally are artery-clogging with tasty fat. I remember growing up and making cornbread sticks with a half tsp of bacon grease placed in each ear-of-corn-shaped metal cavity before baking. It was the most delicious cornbread ever and made the best cornbread dressing ever (which had additional butter fat and chicken fat added). But if I had continued that diet I would have died earlier than the pleasant early death of one of the Rockefeller brothers(who went out like Errol Flynn).

        Unfortunately the fat index of our citizenry caused an earlier-than-deserved demise of her popular show. Her more recent wt loss has prompted leaner recipes including some for tailgating.

        It’s all good. :)

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Jax, don’t listen to Paula, just chow down in her food and all will be we’ll, until your stress test.