Mark Edwards' In My Opinion: Targeting rule should be here to stay
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Nov 07, 2013 | 1098 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
College football's emphasis on targeting has drawn plenty of criticism this season, and there's little doubt the rule could use polishing on one particular point:

Targeting results in the ejection of the offender and a 15-yard penalty, but if a review of the replay can overturn the ejection, the penalty should be overturned, too.

Otherwise, officials should continue watching for targeting as closely as they are. The rule says that when in doubt, officials should err on the side of throwing a flag.

Yes, it's disappointing to see a player ejected. On one October Saturday, Georgia lost to Vanderbilt, Florida lost to Missouri and South Carolina lost to Tennessee – and all three losers saw one of their players ejected for targeting.

In all three cases, the ejected player appeared to make a football move that's been part of the game for as long as we can remember. But the game just has to change. The players need to be protected.

ESPN released a report Thursday, saying Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall "have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia."

How many former football players are suffering similar symptoms because of hits to the head? How long should we refuse to change the game because that's the way it's always been played?

Certainly, the targeting rule needs to evolve. Some coaches and players are warning that if they can't risk hitting opponents high, they'll go low – and possibly injure an opposing player's knee.

I'm not sure what the solution for that is, but it certainly isn't removing the rule and saying it's open season again on a guy's head.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter @MarkSportsStar.

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