Friday, October 14, 2011

Okano suspended for Lafayette game

The Ivy League announced that it has suspended Yale's starting strong safety Nick Okano for tomorrow's game against Lafayette.

Okano was whistled for a 15-yard penalty as he left his feet and hit Dartmouth receiver Ryan McManus on the Big Green's first offensive play of the fourth quarter which I felt was a fair call.

Here is a portion of the release from the Ivy League explaining  why Okano was suspended.
Rule 9, Section 6, Article 2 of the 2011-12 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations Manual states when a foul is called for initiating contact/targeting a player "that does not result in a player disqualification, there shall automatically be a video review by the conference for possible additional sanctions before the next scheduled game."

Additionally, as outlined in the Ivy League presidents’ July 2011 series of recommendations aimed at lowering the incidence of concussions and sub-concussive hits in football, the video review of helmet-to-helmet and targeted hits conducted by Executive Director Robin Harris includes taking appropriate but firm action in response to such hits, including suspension when appropriate.

My first thought is the release should specify targeting a player in the head because every defensive player targets the player with the ball, it's what is known as tackling. I'm not sure why this ruling couldn't have come earlier in the week. Does it really take six days to rule that Okano launched himself at McManus? The good news for Yale is that players like John Powers and Chris Brady see plenty of snaps during a regular practice week so they should be prepared for additional duties.

Okano has started all four of Yale's games and has 15 tackles, an interception and a team-leading three pass breakups. Powers is likely to start in Okano's place. Powers, a special-teams standout, is one of Yale's most physical players so the Bulldogs won't take a step back in that department but it will be interesting to see if Lafayette tries to isolate Powers in pass coverage.

Okano is the first player to be suspended under the new Ivy League guidelines. He will be back for next week's game against Penn.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at Okano's body of work. He is anything but a headhunter. Just a good, hustling, typical Ivy League football player. In this case I think Nick aimed high because it was a high pass and he had the option of playing the ball if he went high.

Regardless, every player should receive a warning before suspension. It is only fair. The game takes place at high speed. Almost every hit is pure instinct and not premeditated in any way.

I think these "officials" and "administrators," most of whom never played the game, are guilty of having no idea what goes on on a football field. In super slo-mo, it all seems controllable. On the real gridiron, it's not like that.

5:08 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I have not seen a replay of the hit. When it happened, I was not surprised a 15-yard penalty was called but wasn't expecting a suspension to follow. Without seeing a replay of the hit, it's hard for me to comment on the validity of the suspension.

12:37 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally unrelated but any word on the recruiting front?

3:16 AM 

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