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Stanford Coach David Shaw addresses the hit on Francis Owusu

In Monday’s press conference David Shaw talked about the hit on Francis Owusu.

Stanford v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Stanford football coach David Shaw addressed the media in a press conference on Monday. After a question about the LSU vacancy that Shaw thoroughly dismissed the press immediately asked about Tahaan Goodman’s hit on Francis Owusu during Saturday night’s game against UCLA. Despite the hit being a textbook example of targeting both the officials on the field, and the replay officials in the booth did not call the penalty. Owusu suffered a concussion and will not play Friday night against Washington. Here are Shaw’s statements on the matter:

“I gotta start by saying first of all, No offense toward UCLA, their coaches, the player involved in the hit, if anything I sympathize and empathize with them. The game happens really, really fast and it’s a very physical game. I don’t fault anybody as far as what happened during the game. I do believe there was helmet to helmet contact and I know that Francis Owusu was technically not a quote unquote defenseless player but I think in the era that we’re in right now, where we are, legally where we are, in the mode of trying to make this game safer trying to take helmet hits out of the game, trying to protect the players as best as we can to play this wonderful, physical sport, in the spirit of where we are in our football world right now, high school, college, NFL, you should throw a flag. It should be a penalty. The initial contact was helmet to helmet. It’s not what we want, it’s not what we say that we want, it’s exactly what we say we don’t want. So if you don’t want it then it should be penalized. Have to go back and reword our rulings, reteach our officials and our replay officials, but when initial contact is helmet to helmet it should be a penalty whether it’s a defenseless player or not. [. . .] its not about defenseless player or not, it’s about making this game as safe as we can make it. We should not lead with our helmets on someone else’s helmet.”

Shaw was then asked about the ref’s explanation for the no call and whether that explanation was because Owusu was not considered defenseless. Shaw responded:

“I’m not talking about the explanation I got, I’m talking about what I believe as a college football coach who coaches young men who has to sit in these living rooms year after year and say that we are going to try and do the best thing we can for their young people in the classroom and on the football field and that we are going to try and take care of them. Plays like this should be penalized so that they stop happening. If we don’t penalize them they will continue to happen. To me that’s just common sense. It’s where we want to go with the game so why wait? We should go there now and I thought that we were there. By all of the dialogue by everybody who works in football on all levels, we want this game to be as safe as we can possibly make it, which means taking helmet to helmet collisions out of the game and if it happens, we should penalize it.”

Coach Shaw stated that he did have a conversation with the league office but declined the opportunity to discuss it further. Stating that it is up to them if they want to discuss it.

When Shaw was asked if he could discuss what happened in the replay booth and why they did not call a penalty, Shaw stated:

“As I said earlier there’s language that obviously needs to be amended, preferably sooner than later and I think that you’ll get relatively unanimous support for such specific language that takes helmet to helmet collisions out of the game. The defense for this not being a penalty, I couldn’t imagine what it really could be, rationally. So, once again it’s up to the league office and our officials to comment on it how they want to. I’m telling you what I believe as a college football coach, as a leader of young men who loves this sport, absolutely loves this sport and wants it to be played physically but also wants it to be played as safe as possible. So what happened in the replay booth? I’m not sure. I understand the letter of the law, it’s been quoted to me multiple times over the last 24 hours but to me it’s immaterial; we’ve got initial contact with one helmet on another helmet, that should be a penalty.”

You can watch the full press conference below:

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