September 1, 2018 Atlanta - Georgia Tech defensive back Tariq Carpenter (29) reacts in the first half of the Georgia Tech home opener at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, September 1, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Paul Johnson blasts targeting calls

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson left no doubt about his opinion on the two targeting calls in the team’s loss to South Florida on Saturday that resulted in game disqualifications for safety Tariq Carpenter and linebacker David Curry.

“They were awful,” Johnson said of the calls on his Sunday teleconference. “Absolutely ridiculous. Especially the one on David Curry. It’s awful.”

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Carpenter was called for targeting in the first quarter for a hit on USF wide receiver Darnell Salomon after he had caught a pass from quarterback Blake Barnett. Carpenter may have been flagged for one definition of targeting according to the NCAA rule book, “lowering the head before initiating forcible contact with the crown of his helmet.”

Carpenter appeared to lower his head as he hit Salomon, but whether the hit was “forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball” could be debated. The targeting penalty was confirmed after video review, resulting in his disqualification for the remainder of the game.

Curry was called for targeting in the fourth quarter as he went in for a tackle on running back Duran Bell. As nose tackle Kyle Cerge-Henderson tackled Bell to the ground, Curry attempted to assist on the stop. He led with his helmet and may have hit Bell in the head or neck area. The television replay was unclear.

Watching the coaches video, Johnson said he wasn’t sure if Curry hit Bell in the head.

“And if he did, it was nothing,” Johnson. “To have to get kicked of a game for that.”

They were costly losses for Tech in its 49-38 loss to South Florida. Johnson described the two as “probably our two guys that are playing the best on defense.”

Curry was replaced by freshman Quez Jackson and Carpenter was replaced by Kaleb Oliver, like Carpenter a redshirt freshman. Before he was ejected, Carpenter had ended USF’s first possession of the game with the first interception of his career.

Curry, who is tied with cornerback Ajani Kerr for the team lead in tackles with 10, will have to miss the first half of Tech’s next game, its ACC opener at Pittsburgh.

The officiating crew was from the American Athletic Conference.

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