NEW ORLEANS (AP) — LSU coach Ed Orgeron hopes coaches will band together and demand changes to NCAA football's targeting rule and how it is enforced.
Orgeron's suggestion comes just days after a target foul called last weekend LSU linebacker Devin White, a penalty which triggered White's suspension for the first half of the fourth-ranked Tigers' next game against No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3.
Orgeron said he favors rules designed to protect players' heads, however, he said the current rule was enforced in a "very unfair" way against White after linebacker leveled Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter of LSU's 19-3 victory Saturday night.
"I don't think that targeting should have been called. I think he tried to pull off and I think it's a very stiff penalty," Orgeron said while speaking before a Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club luncheon on Tuesday. "He did not try to hit him with his head. He put his hands in front, but it's the rule, so we have to move on."
Orgeron said he'd favor officials being given more leeway on such calls, similar to that which they have to differentiate between roughing the kicker and running into the kicker — depending on how reckless the foul is perceived to be.
"Hopefully they do something about it. I think something needs to be done," Orgeron said. "I'm going to voice my opinion and that's all I can do."
Orgeron said LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has discussed the matter with Southeastern Conference officials, who provide officiating crews for league games. Orgeron said he is under the impression White's punishment won't be changed.
The rule is enforced by the NCAA. Conference commissioners do not have the authority to overturn targeting calls or reduce punishment.
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