We’ve already heard what the defenders in the SEC and the Big 10 had to say about the new targeting rules that will be implemented this upcoming season to improve player safety. Now it’s time to get the Pac-12 take.
As has been the case so far, the responses from Pac-12 players were mixed, with some players in favor of the emphasis on player safety (not iambic, people) and some, especially guys known as big-hitters, more critical of the new rules and less confident that the penalties will be handed out fairly or consistently.
(All quotations transcribed by Kevin Gemmell at ESPN)
Here’s UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr:
I understand the rule, but as a defensive player it’s going to be difficult to fully adjust my game … So as I play, I’m going to play within the rules that I’ve always played and play like I’ve always played, full speed and attacking. And if I get penalized because of it, then so be it. But I’m going play the way I play football.
And here’s Standford linebacker Shayne Skov:
We’ve been trained to hit properly. Football is an aggressive sport and I’m going to keep playing the way I play, and it’s part of the nature of the game … we’re going to play aggressive and do it the right way and if you do that we won’t have any problems with head trauma collisions and I don’t foresee any in the future.
Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, however, has a more positive take:
It’s a rule that’s going to be hard to abide by, going full speed, but at the same time, whatever helps player safety. So if that’s what the rule is, then I’m going try as a player to, to the best of my ability, abide by those and to be as safe as possible for the other player and myself. I’m going to be more aware on the field and proper adjustments like I should.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this rule is implemented in 2013. The forecast calls for cloudy with a chance of controversy.