In March, the NCAA and the football rules committee implemented a new rule that has already made headlines as we begin a new college football season.
The rule was set to protect players from targeting and contact on defenseless players.
The normal 15-yard penalty for any targeting will still apply, but the player(s) will also be ejected from the game immediately.
A player who is ejected for targeting or hits above the shoulder in the first half of the game will be forced to miss the remainder of that game. If ejected at halftime or in the second half, you will be forced to miss the remainder of that game and the first half against the next opponent.
During the first weekend of college football, there were 10 ejections that occurred in 75 FBS games.
Three of those ejections where overturned after second opinions from instant replay.
Although the overturns show that the NCAA is taking the rules seriously, some feel that this rule can call for some concern as well.
Coach Partridge feels that safety for the players should always be the NCAA’s main priority, but Partridge said that he also has some concerns for his defense and his offensive players.
“I think that there is something that needs to be done for safety,” Coach Partridge said. “But they have made it very difficult to play defense. I don’t think they have thought too far ahead.”
Partridge noted that the new rules have made the legs of players very vulnerable because defensive players will become confused on where to hit a defenseless offensive player.
“To me, it will be very dangerous now to play defense and make tackles,” Partridge said. “I’m not saying that you should go for the head but they are making them drop their heads so low that I’m worried about neck injuries. I am also afraid that there will be a lot of torn-up knees and broken legs.”
As for a defensive player’s opinion, linebacker Yomi Ali feels that the rules have only made his job harder.
“The targeting rule is making it a little harder on defensive players because it’s a fast game,” Ali said. “It is even harder on the referees because they have to make these decisions in split seconds and [the rules] are just adding more for them to look for.”
Ali, who missed most of last season due to a torn ACL, noted that all football players knew the risk they were taking when they decided to play the sport.
“It’s hard because football is a collision sport,” Ali said. “Things happen. But here’s my opinion, we all know what we signed up for. It’s a physical game and it takes a toll on your body. But we are choosing to play, nobody is forcing us.”
Ali said that the rules could force him to change how he plays.
“I’ll have to change my game a little bit,” Ali said. “But we are always taught to play low and strong and keep our heads up at all times. We are really coached up well, in how we should tackle and play.”