With the new rules restricting defensive players from “targeting” the guys they’re tackling about to be implemented in the 2013 season, multiple players at the Big 10′s media day event spoke about the officiating change. Not surprisingly, the guys on the defensive side of the ball weren’t too thrilled.
(All quotations via ESPN.)
Ra’Shede Hageman of Minnesota was clearly displeased:
Me being [6-foot-6] and going full speed at a running back who’s like 5-7, that’s hard. And you have to understand that. I’m not trying to go head-to-head with somebody. But I feel like I have to fix my game a little bit. It’s a new rule for our safety, so I can’t hate on it. But it’s kind of difficult when you’re 6-6 and you go out at a running back or a quarterback. If I knock off somebody’s helmet, now I’m going to get ejected? That’s crazy.
Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough was also unhappy abut the crackdown on head-shots:
It’s not something you do on purpose. If something like that happens, it’s an accident, anyway, so there’s nothing you can do about it. Whether they penalize you or eject you, there’s nothing different you can do. It happens so fast. The rules they make are a little bit ridiculous. What, are you just going to stop and think? What are you going to do when a running back puts his head down? It’s just too hard.
Indiana safety Greg Heban also weighed in:
If that’s the decision they’re going to make, then that’s what they’re going to make. It’s going to be something kind of different for us, and we have to realize when we go to hit, we have to kind of think about what we’re going to hit instead of just attacking.
The targeting rules have already sparked a lot of debate about Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Vincent Smith. We will be monitoring the implementation of the new rules when the season gets underway.