MADISON - While he heard the chorus of boos being rained down on the officiating crew as he headed to the locker room, sophomore cornerback Derrick Tindal knew better.
It was a bang-bang play that Tindal was flagged 15 yards on for targeting in the final minute of the third quarter of Wisconsin’s 28-3 victory on Saturday, but a play that could have been avoided, in his eyes, had he used proper technique.
“Michael Caputo basically told me I could have avoided the whole thing if I would have tackled properly,” said Tindal. “Most of the blame is on me. I don’t blame the refs for making the call. They are just protecting us. If I would have wrapped up and made a good tackle, it could have been avoided.”
As a result of coming in with his forearm, which contacted a defenseless receiver’s helmet, Tindal will spend the first half of Wisconsin’s primetime game against Hawaii in the locker room.
“Missing the first half is the most frustrating because I know my team needs me,” said Tindal. “I’m disappointed in myself.”
Sophomore cornerback Natrell Jamerson will start in Tindal’s place.
Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, like he typically does for any defensive shortcoming, shouldered much of the blame as well for not creating a bigger emphasis on targeting a player’s “strike zone” – located at the bottom of the numbers on an offensive player’s jersey to the player’s thigh.
“We have to do a better job at it,” Aranda said. “Those are such bang-bang plays. You want everyone playing aggressive and you want everyone to play physical and play fast. All you can do is emphasize what you can and really hope for the best.”
It was a tough way to end what Tindal thought was going to be a good bounce-back performance for himself individually. After saying he did a “poor” job against Miami University, despite leading the team with seven tackles, Tindal finished with eight tackles, a pass breakup and a half tackle for loss before being shown the gate late in the third quarter.
“I did my job,” said Tindal. “I always feel I can get better in certain areas. I am always very hard on myself.”
Tindal’s freshman season was a whirlwind. Solid and reliable in the eyes of the coaching staff, Tindal played in 12 games (10 starts) as a true freshman, contributing 10 tackles and a sack in his first year in the program. He also had to deal with being carted off the field in an ambulance following a head injury in the spring and the death of his mother last fall.
With time under his belt, Tindal has found success on the field – 17 tackles in three games – and has started to heal in his personal life.
“I feel more comfortable,” said Tindal. “There were times last year when I was ready to give up, but I feel I am ready to grow. I didn’t get over my mom passing but I don’t have to deal with it. It’s made everything easier.”
While Camp Randall will be rocking outside, Tindal will be anxiously waiting for halftime to arrive so he can get back in the game plan.
“I’ll be jumping,” said Tindal. “I’ll be ready.”