HOUSTON — Mason quarterback Otto Wofford was ejected for targeting during the Punchers’ Class 2A, Division I quarterfinal win over Refugio last season at the Alamodome.
The move angered coach Kade Burns and the Mason fans, and Refugio coach Jason Herring agreed the ejection was severe.
If a similar foul were to occur this season, the player might not have to leave the game.
“From the public’s perception it’s either overcalled or under called,” said UIL Director of Athletics Susan Elza, “and I think our coaches have that perception as well.”
Elza spoke about the changes to the targeting rule Monday during the UIL’s annual news conference at the Texas High School Coaches Association’s coaching school.
The UIL has been following NCAA rules on targeting, but is unable to review plays and decided to institute two levels of targeting.
“The first level is an egregious targeting with an intent to harm,” Elza said. “Then, there is a targeting where the player had no intent. Targeting without intent will be a 15-yard penalty, but the player is not ejected. A player who commits a targeting with intent to harm is automatically ejected. A player who commits a second targeting foul is ejected regardless of the level.”
Other rule changes instituted this season will prohibit two-man wedges on kick returns, and a blind-side block on any play will be a personal foul.
Elza said the response from coaches on the UIL allowing two hours of sport-specific workouts during the summer has been positive.
“One thing we’ve been hearing resoundingly is some kids can’t afford to get a quarterback coach or a receiver coach,” she said. “This allowed them to be coached by their own coach and not have to find a way to be able to pay for it. We think it’s a good step in the right direction, and overall what we’re hearing from our coaches is they’re very excited about it.”
But Dr. Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director, said the organization is still not ready to allow coaches to coach their 7on7 teams.
“First of all we don’t have consensus from our coaches that they want to do that,” Breithaupt said. “Secondly, it won’t resolve the problem for recruiting purposes because it doesn’t stop select teams from being formed.
“There are some coaches who want to coach 7on7 because they don’t want the third-party coaches coaching their kids. There’s another group who doesn’t want burnout either.”
Breithaupt also announced that the 2020 state championship games to celebrate the 100th anniversary of UIL football will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The 2019 games will also be held at the Dallas Cowboys’ home stadium.
Elza said no decision has been made on awarding home field in the first round of the playoffs to the higher seed in Class 4A and smaller schools, as is done for Class 6A and 5A schools.