Let's keep it clean

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney is all about cleaning up the game of college football, but not at the expense of watering down the product.

He wants to see a change to the NCAA's rule on targeting during the offseason.

"We're definitely heading in the right direction," Swinney said. "Ultimately, you want to have the best game in the country, which we have, and just keep it as safe you possibly can be and not have blatant cheap shots going on out there. Eliminate that and it makes the game that much better.

"It's never going to be legislated non-violent, no way."

Even before Bashaud Breeland was ejected from last week's game, Swinney was already against how NCAA enforced its targeting rule.

Breeland, who was penalized 15 yards and ejected for a third quarter hit on Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, will have to sit out the first half of this Saturday's game against Maryland.

"The call they made on Breeland was per the rule of the call," Swinney said. "You just have to make sure you tackle below the shoulders. That's just the main thing."

His beef is with how the rule is enforced.

"First of all, it's a 15-yard penalty and they review it. That, I think -- we're all grown-ups here, I think everybody can agree that just makes no sense," he said. "That's something I think we'll definitely have to look at."

Swinney's main contention is that football is a violent sport. And he hopes that the physical nature of the game isn't compromised any further than it already is.

"Now, nobody wants cheap shots. Nobody wants that. You have to really deal with those severely," Swinney said. "Outside of that, we can just go out there and play flag football.

"This is a violent game. Everybody knows when they sign up that there are risks involved. If you don't like those risks, then don't play. That's just the way it is."

This offseason, he hopes that "cooler heads will prevail" and the rule's enforcement is adjusted.

"What they're trying to do is alleviate the cheap shots. I think that should be part of it," Swinney said. "Some of them that I've seen, they are very subjective. To me, it should be no doubt. You're gone. If it's grey and you're not really sure…if you can't tell it when you see it, you're not sure -- it's football."

Teaching, he thinks, is the best means to minimize hits that are deemed as targeting.

"I do think that everybody has to do a great job of teaching and knowing who the defenseless players are, as they're defined, and teaching guys -- don't hit people above the shoulders," Swinney said.

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