On Monday night, the Pac-12 issued the following statement:
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference acknowledged an error in officiating during the UCLA v. Hawai’i game on Saturday, September 9.
With 5:21 remaining in the first quarter, the game officials and replay officials missed a targeting penalty that should have been called on Hawai’i. The play in question was in direct violation of rule 9-1-4 (Targeting and Making Forcible Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player).
Additionally, during the UCLA v. Hawaii broadcast on Pac-12 Networks, the play in question was erroneously described by the Pac-12’s head of officiating.
Eliminating contact to the head and neck area of defenseless opponents is a critical safety rule and the Pac-12 stands behind those rules and protecting student-athletes. The Pac-12 will continue to work with its officials to ensure that they are diligent in enforcing player-safety rules.
Of course, any Bruin fan who watched Saturday’s game against Hawai’i knows which play the statement is referencing.
It’s referencing the hit by Hawai’i tight end Metuisela Unga made on UCLA linebacker Kenny Young that is seen in this clip from Twitter.
PAC-12 referees ruled this a clean hit on Kenny Young and wonder why they're a national joke. pic.twitter.com/1ANPf75cv5— Daniel Workman (@AWESOMEworkman) September 9, 2017
The statement from the conference also refers to the comments from David Coleman, the Pac-12’s VP of Officiating that were made later in the game following the targeting call on Josh Woods when Yogi Roth asked about the hit on Kenny Young. Here’s the exchange in question.
On one hand, it’s nice to hear the Pac-12 Conference admit that their on-field AND reply officials completely blew the call as well as to hear them acknowledge that the conference’s head of officiating also blew it when defending the on-field and replay officials.
But, that’s about as milquetoast an acknowledgement as one could get.
Considering how the NFL concussion study was released right before Pac-12 Media Days began in July and there was so much discussion related to concussions and CTE at the two-day event, the Conference needs to do a better job than they did today in acknowledging such an awful error.
They need to do more than just issuing a statement like that. It didn’t even say that they were reprimanding the game and/or replay officials for blowing the call.
And, frankly, David Coleman’s comments have made him the laughingstock of college football and he should probably be fired for defending the call the on-field and replay officials made.
Coleman was hired several years ago in an attempt to fix the problems with Pac-12 officiating. Well, on Saturday, Coleman became a part of the problem. Enough.
In other Bruin football news, UCLA football head coach Jim Mora met with the media on Monday.
Mora explained that the fact that Lasley wasn’t available opened the door for the team to incorporate Demetric Felton into the offense against Hawai’i.
Mora indicated that the Pac-12 had gotten back to him regarding the hit Kenny Young took. He also said that the conference would be issuing a statement which is what they issued Monday night.
But, Mora was clearly still not happy. Mora spoke about the hit:
I’m not pleased with the fact that Kenny Young took that violent of a hit and nothing was done about it...no....Nothing rectifies that. That was a vicious, violent, intentional hit on a defenseless player. It was the definition of targeting...the absolute definition. It was clear. It was concise. It was beyond reproach that it was a violent, flagrant target and, for some reason, the process failed and they will address that.
Mora also spoke about Kris Barnes’ play replacing Young after the hit. Interestingly, Mora focused on how the defensive replacements got to play a lot. Mora said:
What was great was that he got to play. And, as I’ve said before, the only way you really make big leaps of improvement is by playing in a game. Practice is great and you do improve in practice, certainly, but when you get in there and it’s against a different opponent and there’s an intensity level that you really just can’t match in practice because you’re playing another opponent and there’s fans there and there’s a lot on the line. That’s when you see big jumps in guys in terms of their ability to go out and improve. So, I’m just excited that he got a lot of snaps, that Lokeni [Toalioa] got a lot of snaps, that Breland [Brandt] got a lot of snaps, Martin Andrus got a lot of snaps, a lot of guys got a lot of snaps because that’s how you’re going to get better.
Mora also spoke about getting backup lineman in to “develop that depth.”
Yet, in an apparent contradiction of what he just said, Mora opted to leave his starting quarterback in the game until there was just 8:30 to go in the game, rather than putting his backup quarterback in earlier when the game was clearly in hand.
But, then again, one of the biggest knocks on Mora as a head coach has been his failure to develop a competent backup quarterback, just in case. By comparison, against Fresno State, Alabama’s Nick Saban sat down his starting quarterback at the start of the fourth quarter with a 31-10 lead.
While the gametime for Saturday’s game against Memphis remains Noon ET/9 am PT, please note that the game has been switched from ESPN2 to ABC.
And, speaking of kickoff times, the Pac-12 Conference announced Monday that next week’s game against Stanford will kickoff at 7:30 pm PT and be televised by ESPN.
Of course, that means that the #Pac12AfterDark hashtag will be out in force again. Expect the unexpected.