UCLA football’s targeting problem

Hawaii wide receiver Kalakaua Timoteo, center, drops the ball and gets leveled by UCLA linebacker Josh Woods, left, and hit from behind by defensive back Mossi Johnson (21) at the goal line, Woods was penalized for targeting and ejected, during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. UCLA won 56-23. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Dalton Schultz hauled in a 3-yard pass from Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello and turned up field. Adarius Pickett didn’t waste any time to come in for the tackle. With the UCLA safety bearing down, the Stanford tight end ducked his head to prepare for impact. What likely would have been a clean hit to the chest sent Pickett to the UCLA locker room for a targeting in the first quarter.

Nearly two weeks later, Pickett is still baffled by the play.

“A guy that’s 6-6, he lowers his head and he hits my head and I’m aiming, as you can see, for his midsection and I get kicked out of the game for that,” Pickett said Tuesday during UCLA’s bye week. “I just don’t understand that at all.”

via GIPHY

The targeting call has been a particularly sore spot for the Bruins this year as they’ve lost four players in as many games due to the rule. The 11 other Pac-12 teams have lost three players to targeting combined. The policy designed to protect players has instead confused many about how to define a good football play. Continue reading “UCLA football’s targeting problem” »

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