For the second-straight season, the Kentucky Wildcats have gotten dinged by college football’s targeting rule.
The Wildcats are going to be without linebacker Chris Oats for the first half next weekend against Eastern Michigan after he was ejected in Saturday’s win over the Toledo Rockets.
Oats hit the Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni as he was sliding down to the ground, knocking his helmet off, and after video replay, it was confirmed that Oats’ personal foul that was called was indeed targeting, resulting in him being ejected in the third quarter.
A similar situation happened last year during Kentucky’s win over South Carolina, a game in which Kash Daniel was called for targeting in the second half. That led to him missing the first half of the ensuing game vs. Texas A&M.
After the win against the Rockets, this is what Mark Stoops had to say about the ordeal:
“It’s tough. I think you all know that. You see the issues nationwide, so it’s just a tough call. They review it and I’m quite confident in the committee and Steve (referring to SEC coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw). That goes back to the SEC office, so that was looked at by a lot of people, so if they upheld the call, then that’s what it is.
“I thought initially when I watched it during the game that Chris was throwing an arm just to protect him, and as long as we’re trying to wrap up, that’s a tough call. So I’m not complaining about it being thrown and I’m not complaining about Chris, because I think he was hustling and it’s very difficult to know when the quarterback is going down to slide and if he’s going to slide.
“As long as they’re going to wrap up and our heads up and we’re trying to play clean, it’s just going to happen sometimes. It’s in our game, and it’s for the well being and the safety of our student-athletes, so it is what it is. I support it.”
It’s unfortunate, but like Stoops said, Oats was just trying to take the quarterback down and simply ended up hitting Guadagni in the head as he was sliding.
The good thing is Oats is actually a backup to DeAndre Square, who had a magnificent game, so it’s not like Kentucky is losing a starter. Still, Oats plays a lot at outside and even inside linebacker behind Kash Daniel, so this is going to affect UK’s depth for the first half against Eastern Michigan this coming Saturday.