After failing to confirm targeting which knocked UCLA Football linebacker Kenny Young out of the Hawaii game, the Pac-12 acknowledged their error, but it is too little, too late.
This past Saturday, the UCLA Football team had to endure two questionable incidents in their game against Hawaii which put the Bruins on the wrong end of targeting that was missed on a play that got LB Kenny Young knocked out of the game and got LB Josh Woods kicked out of the game.
Both plays were detrimental to the Bruins as they resulted in the loss of both players, but it was also an awkward situation in terms of how they were handled. A defenseless Young was blindsided by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Hawaii’s TE Metuisela Unga, who was not ejected, as it was determined that he made a legal shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Then, Woods was kicked out of the game for targeting that did not seem to have intent.
Though the first incident was addressed by the Pac-12, the second was not and will leave Woods suspended for the first half of the upcoming Memphis game.
In regards to the hit on Young, the Pac-12 has officially acknowledged their error in their official review, which they vehemently supported at the time.
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Per Pac-12.com, “The play in question was in direct violation of rule 9-1-4 (Targeting and Making Forcible Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player).”
They continued by stating, “Eliminating contact to the head and neck area of defenseless opponents is a critical safety rule and the Pac-12 stands behind those rules and protecting student-athletes.”
That was the biggest thing that irked UCLA fans. It was a violent hit on Young which has led to the fear that he could suffer from a concussion. If safety was that critical for the Pac-12, Hawaii’s Unga should have been immediately thrown out of the game.
Of course it did not help matters when later in the contest Woods was called for targeting, which might have been a bit excessive to conclude (though Bruin fans might agree that the helmet-to-helmet contact had occurred, warranting the ejection).
Still, this “acknowledgment” is fine, but the effect it has on UCLA hurts them going forward. Because of it, Young could miss the game against Memphis if he is ruled unfit to play. This is in addition to the first half suspension for Woods. Hopefully the Pac-12 will re-evaluate their position with targeting in hopes that no further harm comes to any more players.