Ryan Day Gives Brutally Honest Take On Targeting Rule

Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day has joined the chorus of voices calling for a more balanced and common-sense approach to college football’s targeting rule.

In an interview on a podcast hosted by FOX Sports analyst Joel Klatt, Day expressed his concerns about the current emphasis on video reviews and highlighted the importance of trusting on-field officiating crews.

“We’re getting so much into the weeds on this that we’ve lost why we started on it,” Day said. “What was the reason why we did this? To protect young men. If someone’s launching at someone’s head, and they’re unconscious on the ground, that’s not what we want.”

Day emphasized the need for common sense in enforcing the rule and questioned the excessive reliance on slow-motion replays. He argued that the focus on minor details detracts from the original purpose of player safety.

“Sometimes we get into slow motion and we start to get so caught up in the little details of everything. That’s not realistic. I think there has to be some common sense, and we have to trust the referees on the field and what they see. They’re there for a reason,” he added.

The controversy surrounding targeting penalties hit close to home for Day and the Buckeyes during last season’s College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia.

In a pivotal moment late in the third quarter, an overturned targeting penalty sparked a debate. Javon Bullard, a safety for the Bulldogs, was initially flagged for a hit on Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. The hard-hitting collision left Harrison concussed and prompted his exit from the game.

However, after video reviews, the targeting call was reversed, altering the course of the game. If upheld, the Buckeyes would have gained a first down closer to the end zone. Instead, they settled for a field goal.

Day acknowledged the role of instant replay in these situations but urged a return to common sense.

“What we’ve done is put so much into the instant replay,” he explained. “What you see in a slow frame really isn’t what’s going on on the field. We have to go back to the common sense.”

The targeting rule was introduced in 2008 as a means to reduce head injuries, penalizing players for forcible contact above the shoulders. Stricter measures were implemented in 2013, with players who commit targeting required to sit out the remainder of the game or the first half of the following game if the infraction occurred in the second half.

Day had previously expressed his belief that the targeting call in the postseason game against Georgia was justified back in February.

With his recent comments, he has joined the ongoing debate surrounding the targeting rule, calling for a more reasonable approach that prioritizes player safety while avoiding unnecessary stoppages and contentious reversals.