The NCAA’s new targeting rule — in which defensive players who lead with their helmet in making tackles and make contact with an opposing player’s head will be ejected (in addition to earning a 15-yard penalty for their team) — is sure to have many coaches up in arms.
Chief among them is Washington State’s Mike Leach, whose musings on the new rule during a Wednesday appearance on ESPN “First Take” were both rambling and spot-on.
“I’m getting tired of everybody apologizing for playing football,” Leach said. “As kids, we were excited to play, even when it wasn’t football practice, we’d play football. Now we’re nuancing and cluttering this thing up with one thing after another.”
One of the things that Leach took exception to was the notion that Jadeveon Clowney’s now-legendary hit on Vincent Smith in the 2013 Outback Bowl would have potentially been grounds for ejection.
“Clowney’s hit won an ESPY,” Leach said. “I would have given it to him myself. … With all due respect to the officials, you’ve got old guys out there with bifocals trying to identify who lowered their head first. If I’m a running back and I know somebody’s going to hit me, particularly Clowney, I’m going to drop my head, too. Who dropped their head first, who led with what, that’s crazy.
“It’s understood that there’s going to be injury at times in football, but there wasn’t an injury on that play. It’s crazy. It’s insane. It’s going to hurt the game. Hopefully it’ll get corrected shortly.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, coach.