On Saturday, when the Gophers defeated Northwestern 29-12, the Wildcats lost star receiver Austin Carr in the third quarter as a result of a targeting penalty on Gophers defensive back Duke McGhee. It was his second such penalty of the season, both leading to ejections, and the seventh of the season called against Minnesota.
Asked about the penalty after the game -- as well as the number of targeting calls against Minnesota, which has now reached seven in 10 games -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said only that "those are great questions" for Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys.
That article, by Minneapolis-based writer Pat Borzi, is here.
In Wednesday's Star Tribune, Claeys said he isn't concerned about the penalties: “We practice the way you’re supposed to practice and lower the target down.. And anytime you have a game and everything’s full speed and happening fast, that can happen. And when it does, you call it and you get punished. But no, I don’t worry about that.”
Count Chicago Tribune college football writer Teddy Greenstein among those who is worried. He wrote this week: "All around college football, we see safeties pulling up rather than delivering the kind of concussion-causing blows that threaten to wreck lives — and the game as a whole. What is Minnesota teaching its players? This is a black mark on what has otherwise been an excellent coaching job by Claeys."
And Greenstein added this suggestion: "Suspend the head coach for a game once his team reaches five targeting penalties."
Read Greenstein's piece here -- and stay all the way to the end for a remembrance of when former Vikings coach Dennis Green coached a really, really bad Northwestern team.