With the new targeting (and ejection) rule coming into play this year, many coaches will enter fall camp with another thing to address on their "to do list" in fall camp.
At Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Pat Fitzgerald had an interesting suggestion. Fitz proposed that, instead of an immediate ejection for hitting a defenseless player, players first get a yellow card, just like soccer players do, as a formal warning. Only one warning is given, and the next hit would, whether its a game later or ten games later, would result in an ejection.
That actually makes a whole lot of sense. As Fitz points out in the LA Times, college athletes only have a handful of limited number of games to play before their careers are over. An ejection would be very significant and Fitz notes take that opportunity for him and his staff to coach the player up
“Say the hit wasn’t malicious and there wasn’t an intent to injure, but, by definition, it was a high hit. The next time you do it for the rest of the season, you’re going to lose a game." Fitz proposed.
"Our young men have an opportunity to play 48 games and maybe a few more if they’re lucky. Taking away one game can be significant.”
Most coaches we've talked to tend to agree with Fitz. An official making a split second judgement call that could result in an immediate ejection for a player doesn't have many coaches jumping for joy, and while the 'yellow card" idea may not be the best solution at the end of the day, but the fact that a warning of some kind precedes the ejection seems like a solid start.