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Auburn DC Kevin Steele: Coaches have ‘responsbility’ to keep game safe

Auburn linebacker Tre' Williams celebrates what he tought was a clean hit on LSU quarterback Danny Etling Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn linebacker Tre' Williams celebrates what he tought was a clean hit on LSU quarterback Danny Etling Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

The second quarter targeting call made by instant replay officials Saturday night wasn’t popular inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Officials ruled Williams led with the crown of his helmet tackling LSU quarterback Danny Etling.

The targeting call meant an automatic ejection for Williams.

Many coaches bristle when talking about the targeting issue, which folds into the larger discussion of player safety.

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele can get prickly about any number of subjects — don’t ask him about injuries or the offense — player safety isn’t one of them.

Steele explained why he takes every targeting call seriously Sunday night during his weekly appearance with the media.

“The biggest thing you have to understand is, we have a responsibility that is very, very serious in this game, because it’s our game and we have to take care of it,” Steele said. “So we really emphasize safe, safe, safe tackling. It’s not for us to decide when it’s a bang-bang moment. That’s for somebody else to decide.”

Auburn’s defensive staff hasn’t analyzed the play that got Williams tossed Saturday night, but they will this week to see what, if anything the linebacker did wrong.

“We’re not upset,” Steele said. “That’s not the right word. We’ll show him on film, and if there are some ways we can correct it in terms of being safer or better technique, we’ll do that. And if there’s not, then we can’t.”

No amount of coaching will eliminate targeting from the game completely.

“It's two human bodies moving at a high rate of speed that are big and powerful,” Steele said. “Sometimes angles change.”

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