SEC releases statement on Devin White targeting
Here is what the Southeastern Conference league office said after Devin White's targeting call and ejection from the game.
The LSU football team is sitting at 7-1 on the season and ranked inside the top five nationally, but despite five wins over Top 25 teams and a date with No. 1 Alabama looming after the bye week, the focus from fans has seemingly been centered around one thing: Devin White's ejection.
On Saturday night, White was ejected after a targeting call following his hit to Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. The hit came late in the fourth quarter, meaning White would now have to sit out of the first half of the Alabama game in two weeks.
The targeting call was reviewed by the Southeastern Conference officials, and the decision was upheld.
After the game, the SEC released the following statement on the call.
"By rule, no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent," the statement read. "The QB on the play was defenseless at the time of the contact. By rule, all targeting calls are reviewed. The call was reviewed and confirmed."
After the game, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said he was aware that targeting calls weren't subject to further review after games, but said he was still interested in reaching out to the league office about the call.
“I’ve got to look at it. The call was the call. They said they reviewed it and said it was definitely targeting," Orgeron said after the game. "The hit on Devin, I’ve got to look at it. We can’t use our helmets. Targeting is targeting. The rule is, you can’t lead with your head.”
“I think so, but I definitely will check,” Orgeron added of his knowledge that there was no appeals process, which the school confirmed, as well.
While the news of White's ejection dominated the headlines after the win, Orgeron said he was pleased to get out with the win over another Top 25 team.
“We’re glad we won. We just Mississippi State, 19-3,” Orgeron said. “This was a tough week after the big week over Georgia. Emotional win. It was a big win. The crowd was in it tonight.”
Orgeron said remaining calm was critical for him during that sequence as he didn't want to get "fired up" and get a penalty.
“Can we enjoy this one first?,” Orgeron smiled. “Probably won’t have Devin for the first half. So we’re going to have to make some adjustments for the first half.”
The junior linebacker had 10 total tackles, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry when he was ejected from the contest. LSU enters the bye week at 7-1 overall on the 2018 season.
Sophomore linebacker Patrick Queen is White's backup in the middle while true freshman Micah Baskerville has also seen time as the backup to sophomore starter Jacob Phillips in the middle. Regardless, whoever steps in for White will have their hands full against No. 1 Alabama.
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