The Port Arthur News
Here are some things to talk about while we wait for football practice to begin next week...
1) Targeting rule slightly altered
The biggest furor in college football before the season has to do with the targeting penalty. Passed for this college football season, targeting will be a 15-yard penalty with an automatic ejection of the offending player. That happens if a player hits too high on an opponent’s chest, by using the crown of his helmet or creating helmet-to-helmet contact.
Remember the Jadaveon Clowney hit from the Outback Bowl? That would have gotten Clowney ejected if he’d done it this year.
The UIL will be adhering to the harsh, new penalty but with one tweak. College rules allow for the ejected player to be suspended for the first half of the following week if he is ejected in the second half of play. That won’t be the case this year in Texas, with the lack of replay given as the reason for not instituting it by the UIL.
2) Changes to championship football games
This season also marks the expansion of playoffs for Class 3A. Now, Division I will take two teams instead of just one. That’s good news for bubble playoff teams like Orangefield, who have to compete in a very tough district alongside Silsbee and West Orange-Stark.
It also proves to be somewhat of a logistical problem for the UIL. In previous seasons, the UIL has held its state championships games on one weekend at a large venue like newly-christened AT&T Stadium in Arlington, with three triple-headers taking care of the nine games.
Now, though, the Class 3A Division I title game is bumped back a week, meaning there will be 10 games on that final weekend to deal with. The UIL is still looking into the hows of dealing with that extra game and has not as yet set a site for the games.
Along with the logistics of the championship games themselves, the UIL is also making a move on televising games. For years, the UIL has restricted broadcasts of games to tape-delays, except for the state title games. Now, though, the UIL is going to allow early-round playoff games to be aired by its television partner Fox Sports Southwest or other regional or local outlets, even if the game isn’t sold out 48 hours ahead of kickoff.
FS Southwest can air any game during the quarterfinals or semifinals, while other outlets can air games not picked up by FSS as long as they meet standards set by the UIL and provide advertising for UIL sponsors.
It’s a small move, but a welcome one.
3) Tony Brown gets more accolades
Beaumont Ozen senior cornerback Tony Brown is no stranger to the limelight. He has been lauded for his play on the field for the past two years, with publications following his every move and offer from colleges. This summer, though, he seems to have stepped up his profile.
MaxPreps recently named Brown the Preseason Mr. Football for Texas and ESPN upgraded him to a five-star recruit, the fourth-best cornerback in the 2014 recruiting class and the second-best prospect in the entire state.
Not bad for a guy who has yet to tap into his full potential on a high school football field. You can bet new head coach Keeath Magee is well aware of how good Brown can be and will try to utilize him fully. That’s why Brown was even getting repetitions with the offense during this year’s spring game.
Brown still hasn’t decided on a college, but that’s also not unique. The top three players in ESPN’s class from Texas are also undecided and it appears that LSU, Ohio State and Texas A&M fans will have to wait a while longer before Brown makes his decision.
David Coleman is a sportswriter for the Port Arthur News. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and found on Twitter at @MDavidColeman.