Utah football notes: Targeting remains a mystery; Whittingham praises WSU’s Mike Leach

SALT LAKE CITY — When Marquise Blair and Leki Fotu were ejected for targeting during Utah’s 21-7 loss to Washington two weeks ago, the decisions spurred a variety of reactions.

Some bemoaned the calls, lamenting the end of football as we know it. Others defended the referees, citing the rule book.

Two weeks after the incident, Blair is set to return for the entire contest against Washington State, while Fotu must sit out the first half.

The issue, it would seem, is nearly behind the Utes, but head coach Kyle Whittingham was again asked about targeting at his Monday afternoon press conference.

“We have a clear idea of what is explained, it just doesn’t seemed to be called consistently, in that same fashion.”

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham on targeting penalties

The main reason for the inquiry — a penalty or lack thereof against USC linebacker Porter Gustin in the Trojans’ 39-36 victory over Washington State.

Compared to either Blair or Fotu’s infractions, Gustin’s late hit on Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew II seemed particularly excessive, and yet the Salem Hills native wasn’t penalized.

Needless to say, targeting is a source of much confusion.

“We are coaching (targeting) just like we always have, no helmet to helmet, don’t lead with the head, don’t launch. All those things that go into the call,” Whittingham said. “It does seem to be called differently from conference to conference, I can tell you that. You see plays that you think would be no brainers, but they aren’t called. That makes it difficult to try to pinpoint the consistency of the call.

“We have a clear idea of what is explained, it just doesn’t seemed to be called consistently, in that same fashion,” he continued. “That is what is frustrating. You have the verbiage on it. You know what they …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

New redshirt policy makes it more tempting to transfer

A new NCAA policy that makes it easier to redshirt football players comes with an unintended consequence: Players can now choose to save their eligibility by leaving teams after participating in four games, with plans to transfer and use the saved year at a new school.

Several upperclassmen who would have been out of eligibility had they kept playing this season have already taken this route, including Oklahoma State receiver Jalen McCleskey, a senior with 167 career catches.

The new rule took effect this year and was universally praised by coaches. In the past, playing just one game could cost a player a full year of eligibility. Football players have five years to play four seasons and take one redshirt year.

Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck called the change the “greatest rule the NCAA has ever put in in the last 20 years.”

It is proving popular with players, who get more opportunities to play — and, as it turns out, a little more autonomy.

“I just hadn’t really thought (about) that being a possibility until it happened,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said of the midseason departures.

McCleskey is the most prominent player to take advantage of the newly created opportunity. He had 15 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns through Oklahoma State’s first four games after having 73 receptions in 2016 and 50 in 2017.

“You lose a good player. But we live in a world where things like that happen now,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “Transfer’s becoming very popular, and what would keep a young man from doing that across the country at any given time? But if they come to you and say, ‘I’m not getting the ball enough and I feel like I need to be somewhere that allows that to happen,’ then you have to give them that opportunity.”

If McCleskey graduates …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena, clearing one of the last major hurdles in the city’s bid to land an expansion NHL franchise.

The 8-0 vote Monday was the last step needed to complete Seattle’s expansion application in time to potentially field a team for the 2020-21 season. Seattle Hockey Partners, the ownership group attempting to land the expansion team, is set to present before the NHL Board of Governors’ Executive Committee next week.

The council approval ended a more than decade-long struggle to find an arena solution. Issues with KeyArena ultimately led to the Seattle SuperSonics’ move following the 2008 season to Oklahoma City, where the franchise was rebranded as the Thunder.

The final scheduled event for the arena in its current state is an Oct. 5 NBA exhibition game between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

…read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Ujiri opens up about Leonard trade, state of Raptors

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Source:: Sportsnet.ca