Targeting was the hot-button topic on the second day of Big 12 Media Days in Dallas last week, after head of officials Walt Anderson held a tutorial of sorts — complete with video — for media members that illustrated what would now be considered an illegal hit that would result in an ejection.
Cue the questions — and controversy — surrounding South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney’s now-infamous monster hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl after Anderson told CBS’ Dennis Dodd that the hit may be considered illegal under the new rule.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys had left Dallas by the time all this buzz came to the surface. But Gundy recently happened to catch a sports show talking about the possibility that the hit would be considered targeting.
The Cowboy coach did not agree.
“They said that would be an ejection, and I had a hard time with that,” Gundy said at his Tulsa Caravan stop earlier this week, “because I didn’t know what else he was supposed to do. He came through there, looked up, the guy’s in front of him and he hit him.
“I think it’s just a natural instinct. I’m just trying to give you a illustration of the way I see it—I wouldn’t eject him.”
Gundy believes that a player should be ejected if, for instance, he is running full-speed toward a receiver and then leaves his feet to make a helmet-to-helmet hit.
“To me, that’s an ejection, because he had time to see what was going on,” Gundy said. “He had time to make that decision to hit him up here and to leave his feet. That’s really the way I see it.”
Gundy said he and defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer have already met to discuss the new rule and will begin to stress its importance to players when practice begins Friday.
“We can’t allow our players to hit anywhere above (the chest),” Gundy said. “And some of those guys have it in them … they’re fearless and they thrive on collisions. We have to do a good job of coaching, which we’ve tried to, but now we have to really good job of coaching them to it from (the chest) down.
“I think if they tackle from (the chest) down that they’ll be OK and that they should avoid an ejection.”