Ryan Day of Ohio State sees “inequality” in targeting rule after Steele Chambers sent off against Penn State


It didn’t take long in the second half of Ohio State’s 33-24 victory for linebacker Steele rooms to have an impact. Unfortunately for him, the referees ruled that it was an illegal impact.

The sophomore third-year, making his first season as the Buckeyes linebacker, tackled the Penn State quarterback. Sean clifford on the first defensive play of the third quarter. Clifford slid a yard behind the line of scrimmage and Chambers hit him helmet on helmet.

Before the yellow flag hit the grass at Ohio Stadium, everyone watching the game knew the penalty. Target, 15 yards and a Nittany Lion first down. As is the case with this rule, the game was automatically reviewed but the replay showed Chambers lowering his head and leading with his helmet on. According to the rule, this is an expulsion from the game.

Chambers’ night was over.

“I just feel like in real time it’s a very difficult call”, head coach Scarlet and Gray Ryan day said of the play Tuesday. “I think if you’re Steele in that place, someone is running full speed towards you and then kneeling down, boy, that’s right – in real time, it’s very, very difficult.” I think the rule is in place for the right reasons, to protect our players. So for that, I absolutely support him. But I also think there is a difference between what happens in real time and what happens in replay.

The targeting rule is not new to college football, although its interpretation seems to change depending on the refereeing team. According to the 2019 NCAA rulebook, targeting is when “a player aims at an opponent for the purpose of attacking with forced contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or legal block or playing the ball. This is often accompanied by terms like “helmet crown” and “toss”.

Based on the definition, it’s hard to argue that what Chambers did was not a penalty. But what has a problem with Day is what happened afterwards.

Not only has Chambers missed every game except one in the second half for Ohio State, but he will also be out for the first half of the Buckeyes’ games against Nebraska this weekend. If Chambers had been called in to aim for the last play of the first half, he would be available to play against the Cornhuskers from the start.

This is what Day finds troubling about the rule and thinks there is a simple solution.

“IIt’s a unique situation in that it was the first game of the second half, ”said the head coach. “So that really brought to light, in my eyes, that there is some unfairness in this rule where whether it’s the first game of the second half or the last game of the second half. time is very different. So in my mind the rule should be changed to a 30 minute penalty as opposed to the number of halves because when you do that shouldn’t be the determining factor on how the penalty is assessed, though. it makes sense. “

Perhaps the NCAA will hear these calls for change – Day is certainly not the first coach to point out the rule’s problems – and to make a change. But that change won’t come until Saturday’s trip to Lincoln.

After deciding not to run this offseason, Chambers settled into an important linebacker role for Ohio State as the year wore on. Having played just 18 total snaps in the first two games of the season, Chambers is increasingly on the pitch with 23 total tackles, one sack and one forced fumble for the year.

Alongside seniors Teradja mitchell and second Cody Simon, Chambers has played some of the biggest games against the team’s linebacker in recent weeks. Despite being sent off early on Saturday night, Chambers was still on the pitch for 22 defensive games and managed three tackles and a rushing quarterback when he chased Clifford and forced him to throw the ball out of bounds.

Since he won’t be available early Saturday afternoon, other linebackers will have to fill his void for the first 30 minutes against Nebraska. The day highlighted Palaie Gaoteote and Tommy Eichenberg like the next two.

“Now EA is going to have to come in there and step up, Tommy is going to have to get in there and Coach (Al) Washington will move these guys and get Steele back in the second half,” Day said.

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Gaoteote is a former five-star linebacker who transferred from USC this offseason. There were initially eligibility issues and Gaoteote was not deemed fit to play for the Buckeyes by the NCAA until week two of the season. He also had to deal with an injury that kept him from playing two games this year.

Eichenberg started the season as a starting linebacker with Mitchell, but has seen his shots fluctuate from the first three games.

The Ohio State defense will have to rally without Chambers for the first half against a Nebraska team that ranks 16th in the nation in all-out offense. And maybe in the years to come, the NCAA will take Day’s advice into consideration and change the targeting rule so that sort of thing doesn’t happen to a player like Chambers.


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