TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Sometimes you have to learn the hard way about a rule, but at least Alabama tight end Hale Hentges didn’t get a penalty.
Instead, he had to deal with his fiancé.
Against Louisville, Hentges was blocking for junior running back Josh Jacobs on his 18-yard touchdown run when his helmet was ripped off.
Per NCAA rules, if a player's helmet comes off during a play he’s expected to stop participating immediately. Otherwise it’s a penalty.
Hentges kept going. He didn’t know he could have been flagged.
“It’s just natural instinct,” he said. “You definitely don’t think, ‘I’m just going to completely stop and stand still at that moment.’ But I’m glad that they didn’t call a penalty there because that would have negated Josh’s big run.
“I just try to sacrifice for my teammates. Even if I wasn’t wearing anything, I’d still try and go lay a block for Josh because that’s how I feel about him and I want our team to win.”
Apparently Hale’sfiancé felt differently. Not only does she not want want him to play naked, but with a helmet at all times.
“My fiancé probably gave it to me the worst because she was like ‘You’re going to get hurt out there,” Hentges said. “Protect your head,’ stuff like that. I’m like, ‘You don’t think about that in the moment, you just try to make a play.’”
Jacobs didn’t even notice that Hentges lost his helmet until he was watching the game film.
“That just shows you the type of person he is,” the running back said. “He grinds every day, and he'll give you his last. So shout out to him."
“Josh, who’s really good about giving credit where credit is due, He just came up and told me, ‘That’s an awesome play,’ and ‘Thanks for making that happen,’” Hentges said. “When you have teammates like that, it really makes playing football fun because you understand that what I’m doing is really important to the team and we’re having fun out here, we’re making plays for each other, and that’s something that Josh and a lot of our other teammates do and that’s why we have such a great, cohesive team.”
As for the coaches, they told him of the rule and used it as a teaching moment for the whole team. While they appreciated the effort, safety is the primary concern.
“The refs didn’t end up saying anything,” Hentges said. “You could have easily called a penalty for my helmet popping off in the first place because the defender took it off me with hands to the face. I think it was a good no-call.”