“I feel like it makes us hesitant,” the OU linebacker Corey Nelson said. “It makes us hesitant on trying to make big hits and being careful. Especially, I know us defensive guys don’t like that at all. It kind of gives the offense the upper hand.”
In three games, it was the first time the Sooners had been called for targeting this season. So it was also the first time they got to see the rule applied first hand. It’s not something they are too happy about.
“I felt like it wasn’t a good call,” linebacker Frank Shannon said. “I feel like that targeting rule is getting stretched out of proportion. Every time somebody hits someone, they are looking for targeting. They are taking the fun out of the game. That’s how the game started, with big hits. How are you going to tackle somebody with your side.”
The targeting rule was passed by the Football Rules Committee in February of this year and approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel in March. It is supposed to address concerns about players’ safety and take above-the-shoulder hits on defenseless players out of the game.
However, Stoops said it has caused more confusion than anything else.
“We know he didn’t target the guy, but he still got a 15-yard penalty for hitting the guy in the shoulder,” Stoops said. “I don’t understand that. Again, this is what happens when there is an overreaction to all this.”
Many of the Sooners consider themselves players who are capable of delivering bone-crunching big hits. But because of the possibility of being ejected from a game, it has them second guessing themselves during a play.
“It will make everybody hesitant when they are running in the for the tackle,” Franks said. “You are trying to turn to the side and hit the guy with the side of your shoulder. I think about it all the time. Especially when I am running for the running back. That’s all I think about. Don’t hit him with my head. You just have to pull your trigger, like our coaches say. Don’t worry about it though. You can’t think about it too much. But you still have to think about it because if you do it, you’re going to get kicked out of the game.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth email@example.com