Each day at Big 12 Media Days we'll ask players and coaches for their opinions on some hot topics in and around college football.
Today's question: Does college football's new targeting rule worry you?
* Mack Brown, Texas coach: “Yes. The targeting penalty really worries me. Let me start by saying I'm on board with all the safety concerns. Concussions are huge. You never want to see a young man get paralyzed. But I've seen the inconsistency of the call with head-to-head over the last several years, and it's tough enough when it costs you 15 yards. But to be able to eject a young man with no appeal and cost him playing time the next week on a possible error by an official is something that I think we've pushed too far. What I'd love to do, and what I'll suggest in the future is that we take it upstairs and that the head-to-head penalty is decided by the official upstairs for the severity. ... But I'm afraid we've moved too fast here and that you could really hurt a team or really hurt a young man by taking him out of the game, and then sit there on Sunday and say, ‘We missed it.' I disagree with the huge jump that we took. I understand why. I'm not trying to belittle safety, but I do feel like we've gone too far.”
* Ahmad Dixon, Baylor defensive back: “I'm not going to say I'm worried about it, but it's something I think about. I'm a hard hitter. That's what I do. That's what I've been known for is my ability to hit. Now that I have to watch where I hit somebody, the way I hit somebody, it'll be a little bit different. It's something to think about. Not nothing to worry about, but something to think about.”
* Jeremiah George, Iowa State linebacker: “Obviously, the rule has good intentions for player safety, but it doesn't worry me. At the end of the day, I'm going to play the game of football the way I play the game of football. I don't think it'll be a worry of mine or many of my teammates.”
* Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia coach: “Our deal is, the first Saturday of every camp in August, we're going to bring referees in, we're going to try to present it in the best way that we possibly can. I have not been prepared to be able to do that yet. So, I want to get prepared, I want to the referees to get prepared, I want to get a presentation together. And we do it every year, it's not just about the targeting … Then, during practice, if we see something that's not right, that breaks the rule, we'll address it.”
* Trey Millard, Oklahoma fullback: “I'm not really a fan of it. You kind of think as an offensive player, it's protecting you, but at the same time ... football's a physical game. Ejections for an accident seem kind of ... I mean, sometimes there are clear instances where a guy is aiming for the head and you can kind of tell. But I feel like a lot of them, and the ones I'm not going to be happy with as not only a player but also a fan and as someone who loves the sport, is when someone accidently hits somebody and instead of just getting a penalty, they get taken out of the game. It can change games.”
* Art Briles, Baylor coach: “It's something that we're going to have to certainly discuss. I've got to look over it. I've heard two or three different things the last couple days … It's a fine line that everybody's walking. That's the good thing about it. It's not just one conference, one school. Everybody's walking it. We're all doing the same thing at the same time, trying to figure out the parameters that we can coach within and play within. I think the easy concept is if that head's not up, you're in trouble. If there's a guy coming across there and you're leading with (your head), you're in trouble. If you're a running back and you happen to catch a guy and go into him like a bucking bull, so to speak, then you could be in trouble. That's just the reality of the game, and it will happen with us the way it happens with everybody else, and we'll learn as we go. We want to compete, we want to win and we want to be a tough, respected person and country, and that's not going to change. Whatever we can do to help the safety of the game is certainly beneficial. But as far as the game being played in 2085? You better get your seats. You better get them now.”
* Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma cornerback: “I'm not worried about the rule. It is at the back of your mind, but at the end of the day, you can't let that affect your play because that's when you start playing timid. My game is just going out there and playing hard and playing fast. If it happens, it happens. But at the end of the day, as long as I'm going hard, I won't be mad at myself.”
* Trey Hopkins, Texas offensive lineman: “Not very (worried about it) from an offensive line standpoint. I guess on downfield screens, you can sometimes turn back. That would be the only time you would have to be aware of that rule. But I know it will probably affect more linebackers and DBs. I know our coaches, they'll implement that during camp and two-a-days so the guys will be prepared when the season comes.”
Adrian Phillips, Texas cornerback: “I'm actually not worried about it right now. Our coaches prep us on hitting. All I have to do is trust that the refs make the right decision. As a DB, it's more stress, but you can't worry about that.”
* Jacques Washington, Iowa State defensive back: “The targeting situation, I don't like it personally. I understand the penalty. That's cool, but then taking a player out of the game could really change some games this year just because of one play, one mistake. It's all in the ref's hands now, so that's a touchy subject. You've got to kind of aim a different way. It's something you've been taught ... to separate the ball from the player. Now, you kinda got to make sure you don't hit ‘em.”
* Karl Joseph, West Virginia defensive back: “A little bit, because sometimes in the heat of the game, you can't really control it. It just happens. I understand it's to protect players, but I don't think it's a really fair rule for the defense. But we've just got to play smarter, I guess.”