Wilson agrees with targeting rule, has slight disagreement with call against Kenney

Kevin Wilson doesn’t hold anything against the officials who made the call, saying he understood why freshman defensive end David Kenney was called for targeting and disqualified from Saturday’s game for a hit against quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

“It wasn’t a bad call,” Wilson said. “Because they’re going to protect players. I think that’s awesome. I think they should.”

But he did say that, upon further review of the play, Kenney should have been flagged for roughing the passer because he hit Scheelhaase late. A 15-yard penalty was warranted, he said, but he doesn’t believe Kenney should have to sit out the first half of this Saturday’s game against Wisconsin, which he must do by rule.

“Targeting is called hitting with the crowd, going head-to-head or launching,” Wilson said. “He didn’t do those three, but it got called that way. And then when it got reviewed, they didn’t overturn. He hits in the chest and then gets up into his facemask. Well, is the facemask helmet-to-helmet? It got into his facemask. That’s part of the helmet. And I always say here too, the bigger games, the more TV cameras you got, the better angles you get for review. We don’t have enough good games on TV yet. We don’t get enough camera angles. You play a game at the Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium), there’s about 50 of them swinging all over the place. There’s cameras. There’s spy cams, and they’re all over the place. Everyone says, should you appeal. I don’t know if there’s enough video evidence to overturn.”

So Wilson’s general stance is that plays should be reviewed after the games and that if there is evidence that there is not intent by the player to target, it shouldn’t cost the player another half. However, he said he does like the rule itself and believes that it’s good for the game.

“I just think in time, it comes back, ‘OK, maybe we missed or we penalized this kid when more common minds look at it and say, ‘That wasn’t a target play,'” Wilson said. “‘That wasn’t an intent play. That was a physical, aggressive play.’ And that was probably a late hit. Let’s give this guy a chance. Because again. That’s going to happen to more and more players down the road. But, the direction of what we’re doing is best for the game. And we gotta keep that up. Because there’s no doubt it’s best for the game.”

It’s significant that it’s Kenney who has to sit, because the freshman from Pike had been coming on lately and seeing increased playing time. The four-star recruit and former Iowa commitment was easily as ballyhooed as safety Antonio Allen and defensive tackle Darius Latham and more so than freshman linebackers T.J. Simmons, Marcus Oliver and Clyde Newton, but all five of those players saw significantly more time than Kenney early. He still only has two tackles in three game appearances, but defensive coordinator Doug Mallory said he likes how he’s coming along.

“He gives you a little bit of athleticism at the end spot,” Mallory said. “He maybe has been a little bit slower to come on than some of the other freshmen. But again, really just the last couple of weeks, we force-fed him reps throughout the week and just through his effort and his production, he’s starting to earn his way on the field right now. He gives you a little more athleticism on the edge. I think the other guys have been doing a solid job, but some of those guys are a little bit nicked up too. So you can get a little bit fresher body out there. It gives you some speed and some activity out on the edge.”

— Wilson said he does actually expect cornerback Tim Bennett to get back in the lineup after taking a hit to the head in Saturday’s game. He does not expect Bennett to have a severe concussion. Safeties Greg Heban (knee) and Mark Murphy (ankle) both said they are fine after suffering minor injuries in Saturday’s game. Both returned after going down.

Wilson said center Collin Rahrig (back) should also be back after missing Saturday’s game. He didn’t say much about the status of linebacker Forisse Hardin (chest bruise) but pointed out that Newton had 11 tackles in his stead, so Hardin best get back quickly to take his spot back.



  1. KW’s comments were judicious and for the most part correct. But when will the second-guessing end? Not only are players now required to make split-second decisions to avoid things such as “targeting” fouls, referees must make split-second calls on those split- second decisions. Then fans, broadcasters, and coaches will view the tape and holler. For real player safety, let’s get rid of plastic helmets/facemasks and shoulder pads- they’ve been weapons more than defensive gear for decades. Ask any rugby player whether you can have a good, hard hitting game w/out full robotic body armor.

  2. I mean, what’s Wilson going to say? If he criticizes the refs or that particular call, he gets a whopping fine. To eject Kenney for what amounted to a shove was a joke. Was it a penalty, maybe. But should that play have warranted an ejection? No way. Use some common sense, ref! Illinois’ player committed a much worse foul a few minutes later, trying to spear an IU player who was already on the ground, but he was not ejected. Some of the Big Ten’s refs are rank amateurs and should be disciplined with fines and suspensions.

    Soon, they’ll be playing with flags hanging from their waste. If they want to reduce the number and severity of injuries, modify the helmets.

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