The UCLA Bruins have seen the targeting rule come down harshly on their defense so far in 2017, and one player thinks there needs to be a change.
In a press conference on Tuesday, redshirt junior defensive back Adarius Pickett said he feels like the targeting rule needs to adjust, and possibly look at how basketball issues flagrant fouls for inspiration.
“I feel like that rule needs to be reviewed,” Pickett said, as transcribed by BruinReportOnline. “Like in basketball, there’s a flagrant one and a flagrant two. I feel like there needs to be different levels of a targeting foul, because if you clearly see that I’m not trying to launch myself at somebody’s head or another player on another team is not trying to launch himself at another player’s head, they shouldn’t be kicked out of the game for that.”
Pickett was ejected in the first half of UCLA’s game at Stanford on Sept. 23 and tweeted his displeasure at the call once he was back in the locker room during the game.
I get kicked out the game because I’m hitting to hard against a guy that is 6’6 are you kidding me. Tell me how I’m suppose to play please
— Adarius Khyree (@Pick6Pickett) September 24, 2017
On that play, Pickett said, “When I got kicked out of the game, it wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t like I was trying to have helmet-to-helmet contact, but playing the game of football sometimes, there’s going to be some helmet-to-helmet contact, non-intentional. On that particular 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. I just don’t understand that at all.”
UCLA has a player ejected for targeting in four straight games, leading head coach Jim Mora to have the team practice different types of tackling to try and avoid more penalties and ejections, focusing on the middle of the body. Pickett called it “the hitting zone” before emphasizing how much it impacts a player to get ejected for targeting.
“We worked hard all offseason for 12 games and hopefully a bowl game after that,” Pickett said. “You get so many opportunities to play the game of football and getting kicked out of the game, especially like that, early, that hurts.”
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