Big 12 Media Days notes: Officials targeting dangerous hits

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Defenders are the target of new rules aimed at getting dangerous hits out of the game.

Beginning this season, a targeting penalty carries an ejection from the game.

Officials will be looking for players who launch (leave their feet), thrust (raise their arms) or strike opponents with the crown of their helmet.

Big 12 officials’ coordinator Walt Anderson said the league called 17 targeting penalties in 2012. But under new rules, he added, five of those would have been overturned because replays showed the defenders made an effort to lower their strike zone.

“We need to celebrate big hits, but not celebrate targeting and potentially dangerous hits,” he said Tuesday during the Big 12 media days. “It’s a fine line.”

Asked how officials will determine intent, Anderson acknowledged that the differences between a legal and illegal hit are a matter of 3 to 4 inches.

“The game is under attack and we will either change this culture from within or it will change from without, from other people,” he said. “You’ve got to lower your strike zone. That’s probably the best phrase I can use. You’ve got to get lower, and you’ve got to recognize that, even though you may exhibit some of the low-risk indicators in your actions, if your target zone is high, you’re going to be suspect of it getting called.”

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said it will be important to show his players video replays of what’s now acceptable and unacceptable.

“Anything we could do to try and make the game more controlled or better for the players is a positive thing,” Stoops said. “So we can all live with it if it’s going to make it healthier and better for the players, and which they are. We should always be looking at ways to do that.”

Sooners QB battle

Count Bob Stoops as another Big 12 coach who was not ready to name a starting quarterback at the Big 12 Media Days.

Redshirt junior quarterback Blake Bell would be the man for the job after playing in 13 games last year as a part of Oklahoma’s Bell-dozer package.

Bell rushed for 201 yards on 60 carries for 11 touchdowns in 2012. He attempted just 16 passes, completing nine for 107 yards.

Stoops insisted that redshirt sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight are still in competition for the starting job this fall.

“We’ve never been real excited about naming a guy too early,” Stoops said. “So they’re working hard as well.”

Should Bell get the starting nod, Stoops said he’s not opposed to continuing the quarterback-keeper formation with the speedy Thompson or Knight.

Mary Kay moment

Bob Stoops’ wife, Carol, will be at the same Omni Hotel for a Mary Kay convention this Friday. Carol Stoops is a national sales director for the company and will hold a seminar next week, he said.

“I’m very proud of her, these women do a great job,” he said. “Get your wives into it. It would be good for them.”

Rhodes on fast track

Baylor coach Art Briles said freshman receiver Robbie Rhodes of Fort Worth Southwest has a good chance of seeing the field this fall.

Talking about his recruiting class, Briles said, “Robbie Rhodes, we felt like, was the best receiver in the United States of America.”

Rhodes was ranked the No. 3 wide receiver by ESPN National Recruiting for the Class of 2013 and tallied 1,319 yards and 21 touchdowns at wide receiver his junior season before moving to quarterback in his senior year.

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