UCLA DB Tahaan Goodman’s helmet didn’t connect because Falk’s slide took him just under Goodman (irrelevant because by rule targeting is targeting whether contact was made or not). But there was still contact on the play - and it was significant. Falk’s head snapped back violently when Goodman’s arm struck the Cougar quarterback’s helmet. After he got up, Falk put his arms out to the side to a nearby official as if to say, 'Really?'
“The Pac-12 and I had a little visit about that,” said Moos in the radio interview. “And (the UCLA player) was off both his feet. So he clearly was targeting. The Pac-12 has admitted that was a no-call. What I said to them… when it comes to his personal safety, and calls are not made (like) that one, I felt we needed to have a little visit. Because how do you stop the Cougars?”
Moos then answered his own question.
“We’re the hottest team in the Pac-12 right now… you’re sitting at a coaches’ table at the opponent and they go, ‘We’ve got to get to that quarterback. If he gets a chance to throw we’re going to be in trouble.’ So we’ve got to be ready for that. We are, I think… but we need somebody as tough as Luke Falk pulling the trigger and we’ve got that.”
Commentary: Something more needs to be said here. The Pac-12 in a very rare move last week publicly announced the WSU-ASU officiating crew had been downgraded and an official suspended for a week for incorrectly awarding WSU a replay of fourth down in the first half. WSU scored a touchdown on the replay. There has been no similar announcement this week from the Pac-12 regarding the targeting non-call.
That naturally begs a question (or 20).
The conference this offseason and at media day hugely touted the Pac-12’s focus on football student-athlete safety for the 2015-16 season in announcing new rules and more officiating transparency. "The Pac-12 is also continuing to do its part in ensuring safety for its student-athletes," said commisioner Larry Scott at media day.
So was that all just for show? Is a procedural issue more important than player safety to the conference, so that they take action on the former, but not the latter?
Ten weeks into the season it sure feels like all the column inches allotted in July and August to the Pac-12's focus on safety -- scratch that, the "ensuring" of safety -- was marketing rather than anything of substance. While this non-call involving Falk was particularly grevious, there have also been loads of helmet-to-helmet and (at least, arguable) targeting calls that have gone begging this season -- in WSU games and in other conference games.
Sadly, there's but one conclusion: the actions when it comes to officiating's role in player safety this season haven't come close to matching the words.
The Pac-12 Networks published this clip of Pac-12 vice president of officiating David Coleman on Wednesday:
Moos said Falk was healthy and threw “a 600-yard touchdown pass” with the wind in Tuesday’s practice.
“He’s ready to go, we’re generally pretty healthy. We have a couple guys that have been out a couple weeks but their replacements have done a great job. (It’s just) this time of the year,” said Moos.
Moos didn’t name the players but he was apparently referring to LT Joe Dahl and Y River Cracraft, who have been replaced in the lineup by Andre Dillard and Kyle Sweet, respectively. (In the ASU game and the first half of the UCLA tilt, OL Jacob Seydel was effectively the new man in on the o-line in Dahl’s absence).
Moos said there remained tickets available for the home finale this Saturday vs. Colorado but didn’t say how many.
“As of Monday we had eight buses coming in from Spokane, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Moses Lake. We’re starting to get that really working… that will only grow as out program begins to grow,” said Moos, who noted that WSU has seven home games scheduled each of the next three seasons.
RELATED STORY: Recap of Cougar Calls with Bill Moos
ESPN play-by-play man and color analyst during Saturday’s broadcast after no penalty flag was thrown on UCLA for targeting Falk:
“That’s an awful non-call on the field. Awful.”
“That’s a clear of targeting as I’ve seen all season.”