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September 17, 2013

OU coaching staff responds to ‘targeting rule’

NORMAN — Oklahoma came out as clean as it could in its first brush with the NCAA’s new “targeting rule.” Safety Gabe Lynn was initially flagged for a personal foul and ejected for a hit on Tulsa running back Trey Watts in Saturday’s 51-20 victory over the Golden Hurricane.

The call was reviewed and Lynn was able to stay in the game. Stoops was diplomatic about the call Saturday. On Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference he was a little more adamant that if the ejection is overturned, so should the personal foul.

“I think some of the targeting issues, and we had one in our game, I think are the right thing to do,” he said. “My player was very aware to not target the helmet. He hit shoulder to shoulder and it was exactly how you want, and it was still a physical, violent hit done the right way. You would like to see the penalty part of that done away with when you see it was a clean hit.”

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was much less diplomatic. He believes it’s a rule that has to be altered immediately.

“The kid makes a great play and he gets yelled at because he gets flagged for a 15-yard penalty that leads to a touchdown What’s fair about that?” he said. “That doesn’t make anyone feel good. I don’t think the referees feel good either. They’re left with no choice once they call it. They don’t have an out. They’re stuck, too.”

The OU defensive coordinator believes the emphasis on defenders lowering the target on hits is going to lead to more knee injuries, especially for quarterbacks.

“Ultimately, we’re going to have to go take their knees out because you can do it in college. What they (the NCAA rules committee) is ultimately telling us is you have to go for their knees,” he said. “Because if your body hits their face mask because you go for the ball or go high, it’s gonna cause more problems with the lower extremities.”

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