After Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans was ejected in the first quarter of Saturday’s season opener against Louisiana Tech, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he was going to seek clarification on the call with Big 12 officiating coordinator Walt Anderson.
Tuesday night on his weekly coaches show, Stoops said Anderson had told him Evans did nothing wrong on the play.
“I spoke on Monday with Walt Anderson, it was actually after my press conference. He cut me off really and said, ‘Bob, your player didn’t do anything wrong.’ He understood that, for whatever reason, they misinterpreted the rule to some degree and because I didn’t know what to tell my player.
“The quarterback’s no longer a quarterback when he’s running with the football and he’s a runner. He wasn’t on his knee. He wasn’t falling backwards to slide. He (didn’t) even have his knee on the ground yet and my guy’s already committed to tackling him when he ducks late. I was asking for, what am I going to tell my guy? He said, ‘You don’t have to tell him anything. He did what he was supposed to do.’ No one’s making an issue of it. Everybody’s on this learning curve of understanding the targeting rule and it’s the right rule. We’ve just got to keep working through it to make it correct.”
Evans will be back in the lineup Saturday when the Sooners play at Tulsa.
Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was adamant that Evans did nothing wrong when asked Tuesday.
“He did what we told him to do,” Mike Stoops said. “You always have to tackle with your face up. People that say he ducked his said, that’s wrong. He did exactly what we teach him to do. That’s why it’s hard for us. That’s what we teach our players to do. He never ducked his head. He led with his face. You can always lead with your face. You can’t spear (a guy), lead with your head but you lead with (your face) the way we tell our guys to tackle.”
Mike Stoops said he wouldn’t change what he tells his players.
“It’s just one of those freak plays that happened in a bang-bang situation like that,” he said. “Sometimes it looks worse than it really is and that’s the unfortunate part but it is what it is.”
Here’s what the NCAA rule book says about targeting:
Targeting and Making Forcible Contact With the Crown of the
ARTICLE 3. No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul. (Rule 9-6) (A.R. 9-1-3-I)
Targeting and Making Forcible Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player
ARTICLE 4. No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul (Rules 2-27-14 and 9-6). (A.R. 9-1- 4-I-VI)
Note 1: “Targeting” means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:
• Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area
• A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground
• Leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area
• Lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet
Note 2: Defenseless player (Rule 2-27-14):
• A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass.
• A receiver attempting to catch a forward pass or in position to receive a backward pass, or one who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier.
• A kicker in the act of or just after kicking a ball, or during the kick or the return.
• A kick returner attempting to catch or recover a kick. • A player on the ground.
• A player obviously out of the play.
• A player who receives a blind-side block.
• A ball carrier already in the grasp of an opponent and whose forward progress has been stopped.
• A quarterback any time after a change of possession.