“Sometimes you don’t think, you just go.”

I applaud the underlying sentiment, but here in a nutshell is what concerns me about the new targeting rules:

The big hit from the talented freshman created big buzz this spring.

Georgia safety Tray Matthews delivered it on wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley during a closed team scrimmage. It not only got the attention of teammates but officials on hand.

“He got about eight flags on it,” cornerback Sheldon Dawson said. “Sometimes the adrenaline and the rush leads you to do certain stuff like that. Sometimes you don’t think, you just go.”

It was an example of how college football’s new targeting penalty meant to improve player safety could impact the game.

Linebacker Amarlo Herrera said when he watched a replay of the hit, Matthews should not have actually been penalized on the play because he delivered the hit to the chest, but full-speed it might have looked different.

“It’s the interpretation of the guys on the field that you have to be aware of,” secondary coach Scott Lakatos said.

There’s a part of me that thinks the coaches and players are going to do a better job of preparing for the impact of the changes than officials will and that we’re going to be subjected to a series of Pavlovian responses – flags and ejections, in simple English – every time somebody gets blown up on the field, regardless of how the hit was actually delivered.  That’s the logical response to expect from people who have had this matter stressed to them for months and who are expected to react immediately to plays made by people who are bigger, stronger and faster than they are.

And then there’s this.

The disqualification can be overridden by a replay official, but the 15-yard penalty will remain.

“It’s like a normal instant replay,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I was thinking that maybe a play was run, there’s a commercial break, you could look at it for five minutes if you want and then decide, ‘Hey, the guy’s back in.’ They have to decide in the same time frame of a normal replay.”

Added Lakatos: “We’re trying to make sure that we understand what the officials on the field are going to do because they’re the guys that are being asked to make the decision. They have to make the decision in a snap. They don’t have the benefit of watching it on video.”

That’s a lot of pressure for a snap judgment.  Then, again, maybe Penn Wagers will call things right from the get go.


Filed under The NCAA

33 responses to ““Sometimes you don’t think, you just go.”

  1. Rick

    I am entirely at peace with new rules reducing the intensity of the game, because (a) it’s still going to be the most compelling spectator sport on planet earth and (b) football obviously needs to do a way better job of protecting the central nervous system.

    But damn. Absolutely needs to be reviewable and overturnable if its a clean hit.


  2. Gravidy

    Your expectation of Pavlovian responses is a wise one. They certainly will occur. But the part about the 15 yard penalty standing (solely to protect the delicate feewings of the official who made the mistake, even when replay demonstrates that no foul occurred) pisses me off more every time I think about it.


    • Cojones

      Pissed off is correct, but not for the penalty so much as that they are going to start the season without so much as a reasonable review of an unreasonable rule. It burns me that they think the fan public is too stupid to see that the 15-yd penalty doesn’t compute. We ought to be sending batches of angry e-mails to the NCAA for anyone to get the idea before Sat’s kickoff.


      • I won’t be able to watch a game on TV. Cannot take this sugar honey iced tea, dammit! Ridiculous…the NCAA must be bombarded with a petition of some sort. Lawyer’s get to work!


  3. gastr1

    In the end I think the ability to overrule a DQ and not the penalty is fair. Overruling the DQ does not require the game to stop for yet more instant replays; overruling the penalty would require stopping the game, because they surely could not overrule it after subsequent plays had been run.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    This is not going to be a smooth adjustment. Kinda scary, thinking about frenzied inebriated crowds at a big game.


  5. mwo

    The subjective nature of the rule enforcement scares me to death. If an official has an axe to grind (like Penn Wagers since Jax 2007), he now has a perfect vehicle for retribution. It is beyond my thinking how the SEC can play the best football in the country and have officials who are marginal at best. Every week there are examples of officials screwing up and affecting the outcome of games. . Every week there


    • mwo

      If there is no intentional tampering then their ineptitude makes it appear so.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Have you considered that the games might be fixed and that the SEC office is behind it? How is it that at least one SEC team always seems to get in the BCSNCG. Hell, in 2011 they were so good at it that 2 SEC teams made it. That would explain why the worst violators not only never get fired but seem to get promoted. (See Rogers Redding.)


  6. 69Dawg

    Guess what the talking heads on the Pro broadcasts have now decided the targeting rule is going to do? We are about to see the season of blown out knees for WR’s and TE’s. The “head hunters” are now going to go lower so there is no doubt that it is a legal hit. Pray for the WRs and TEs cause they are going to pay dearly for the NCAA/NFL’s legal liability on the concussion issue. A poll of NFL players after the TE went down the other night was 2 to 1 that they would rather get a concussion than a knee injury. This is going to get uglier and uglier.


  7. IveyLeaguer

    There’s also the part where the replay official reverses the call on the field, but the 15-yard penalty still stands. You read that right. The suspension is dropped, but the penalty that never occurred is still applied.

    The only question is whether the rules committee thought of that one themselves, or got an assist from a large panel of government bureaucrats.

    This is gonna be a replay thing, IMO, and that scares me. Replay can be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t always accurate. Sometimes the live shot is more true than slow-mo.

    The Clowney hit, which should be perfectly legal, within the rules, is a good example of that. The officials got it right on the field, but upon replay many “experts” now say that it should have been a penalty and would be an ejection this year. Which is crap. Clowney had his eyes up and how could he possibly get any lower?

    So, this is going to be interesting. It would surprise nobody if this rule, presently constructed, costs some team, in contention for something, a game this year. And then they modify the rule to get it right, at the expense of the affected team.

    Usually that team is Georgia. So in that sense, let’s hope this is not a normal year.


    • Macallanlover

      Agree, the emphasis will be on sending “messages” by calling this penalty to the extreme, especially in the early part of the season. No conspiracy about it but guess who is unfortunate enough to have it’s biggest game the 2nd week of the season? If we get a player tossed in the Clemson game, they would miss all, or part of the SC game. The fact it is a high-profile broadcast almost guarantees we will have one of the the sacrificial lambs fed to the PC wolves. I am as supportive of player safety concerns as anyone, but not in the camp of having the misinterpretations we have all heard about. We all know what “targeting”, and hitting a defenseless player looks like and the abuses we are being told about as examples are not clear cut. Now the hit from Dial against Murray was a clear example of excessive hitting done solely to injure/hurt but no penalty was inflicted. The way this well intentioned rule is being applied is very concerning. And it is even worse since SEC officials work most of our games, I would take any other league’s officials over ours. I hope ACC officials work the Clemson game but I think it will be an SEC crew (who would love to take the national stage on this.)


  8. Skeeter

    Hugs, not hits, m’kay…


  9. RP

    Wow, this could really cause a meltdown. UGA is on defense, up by two, with 1:23 left against USC. It’s 4th and 12 on the SC 37 and shaw completes pass over the middle. The receiver is blown up and the ball pops out for an incomplete pass. The refs throw the flag and on review the suspension is overturned. However, the personal foul that they just admitted was wrong stands. SC drives down the field and wins the game. Think that would cause any problems?


  10. Joe Schmoe

    I think that given the seriousness of ejecting a player this penalty should be automatically reviewed when called. This is a case where the severity of the penalty outweighs the desire not to slow down the game.


    • Macallanlover

      Yes, and I am at least thankful for that review. At full speed, often from questionable angles, this penalty will get over called many times more than missed with a no-call. Unfortunately, just the sound of the impact will cause officials to overreact, add to it a player slow to get up or a helmet coming off, and we may have to bring Old Sparky back to life in Reidsville.


      • 69Dawg

        The over call thing is true to start with but later the refs are going to ease off. This happens every year in college and the NFL. The point of emphasis will be made and the refs will go back to sleep. This thing got out of control because the SEC refs let totally illegal assaults take place without calling anything. If a defensive player did not hit the QB in the head with a arm it was never called. Body slams (see Fairly), spearing (see last time LSU came to town) and general knee shots were treated as just good football by the SEC. Minor hits off the ball were called (see UF Ark) while absolute decleaters were overlooked (see ALA V Murray). So yea I’m expecting a total FUBAR season.


        • Macallanlover

          Yes, last season started with the SEC office getting involved weekly then it settled down. My concern is the top loaded UGA schedule while they are trying to make their point, legit or not.


          • You are getting bogged down in the details. The Devil is in the details. Stay away from that kind of thinking. Positive thoughts….pass the positive energy through the GEORGIA BULLDAWG NATION.


  11. 69Dawg

    Oh yea one other thing you can look for the guy that gets hit will be slow to get up. The NFL pre-season is full of it. The refs are hesitating until they see the offensive player’s reaction to the hit before they throw the flag. One game last week a clean hit was made but it was a hard hit and the refs huddled and then called a foul. They had it right before the call but NFL doesn’t use replay. The replay showed that it was a clean hit but 15 yards because the refs huddled.


  12. NRBQ

    Are you ready for some flag football?

    All my rowdy friends are gettin’ suspended tonight!


  13. The Lone Stranger

    This kind of game we await Saturday by The Lake is exactly that which worries the Hell out of me vis-a-vis this ludicrous head-shot rule. A renewed local derby, with players from both sides sky high is begging for overwrought refs. We must pray that AM / Gurley-Marshall gives sufficient cushion for any late-game mayhem.


  14. Otto

    I see this like the horse collar rule, they’ll abuse it and call it when ever possible for a year and then it will fade some. I do believe there are spearing rules currently in the book to prevent this and the NCAA is Grandstanding.

    I will say that I have turned the NFL due to their laws restraining defense, and it is possible to turn the college game off.


    • The NCAA has to justify their existence. Athens/Clarke county police are doing the same thing. In fact this crap is going on everywhere. It is time for us to put a stop to this before it is too late. A house divided cannot stand. Ask CMR, he knows how it works. The Presidents of the Universities have power here. The revenue that the SEC brings into State Universities has so much power. Money talks, but BS is walking around everywhere.