Pinkel asking Big 12 to assess hit on Gabbert
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska coach Bo Pelini says safety Courtney Osborne put a clean hit on Blaine Gabbert. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel wants to make sure.
Pinkel said Monday he’s asked the Big 12 to look at videotape of Osborne’s hit on the Tigers’ quarterback in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 31-17 loss to the Cornhuskers.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound safety blitzed and hit the 6-5, 230-pound Gabbert straight on. The question is whether it was an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit.
“I don’t think there was malice involved there,” Pinkel said. “We would like them to review it and give us their opinion.”
Big 12 spokesman Bob Burda, citing conference policy, declined to comment.
The Big 12 already has disciplined the Huskers once for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Linebacker Eric Martin was suspended for the Missouri game after the conference ruled Martin used the crown of his helmet to hit Oklahoma State’s Andrew Hudson the week before on an OSU kick return.
The Huskers sacked Gabbert six times and he withstood other big blows. Osborne’s hard hit came with 9:14 left in the game. Osborne went unblocked after he got a running start from behind the left side of the line.
Gabbert fumbled upon impact, but officials ruled his forward progress had been stopped. The ruling was upheld on review.
Gabbert stayed on his back for 10 seconds before teammates helped him up. He stayed in the game. Pinkel said Monday that Gabbert wasn’t injured.
ABC television commentator Ed Cunningham worked each of the last two Nebraska games. The former NFL offensive lineman, a college football commentator since 1997, sharply criticized Martin for the hit he put on Hudson, and he said Osborne also was guilty of an illegal hit.
“This, by definition, is targeting. That is going after a player at the shoulders or above. That flag needed to be thrown,” Cunningham said on the telecast.
When a reporter on the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference asked Pelini about what he thought of Osborne’s hit, the coach asked, “What do you mean?”
Asked if he thought there was anything wrong with the hit, Pelini said, “I thought it was a good tackle.”
Pelini said Martin’s suspension and the Big 12’s review of Osborne’s hit won’t change the way his defenders play.
Pelini had no problem with Missouri asking for the review.
“No, they got to do what they’ve got to do,” he said. “He (Gabbert) ducked a little bit at the last second. It was a good hit. The Big 12 is going to do what they have to do. I can’t control that.”