Notre Dmae defensive lineman Jerry Tillery was public enemy No. 1 on Saturday, after he was caught on camera committing two very flagrant, dirty plays that have no place in the sport.
The first incident came after USC running back Aca’Cedric Ware took a big hit from Fighting Irish defensive back Nicco Fertitta, the nephew of former UFC co-owner Frank Fertitta. While Ware laid on the ground with a head injury, Tillery came into the picture and clearly kicked the USC running back in the helmet.
Later in the game, Tillery stomped on the leg of USC offensive lineman Zach Banner, who was laying on the turf. This time around, the referees flagged Tillery and head coach Brian Kelly delivered a stern message on the sideline.
After the game, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said he did not initially see the plays, but he plans on reviewing them and discussing Tillery’s actions with him.
“I did not [see the plays],” Kelly said, via ESPN.com. “I know he got a personal foul penalty, and I subsequently took him out of the game. I had a conversation with him. Anytime a player has a personal foul penalty, I pull them out and have a conversation with them. I did that with Jerry, but I did not see [the plays].
“Accountability is built within any program. Jerry has to be accountable for his actions every single day. Jerry is a good kid, and if he made a mistake we’ll hold him accountable for that mistake. We’ll take a look at it.”
Notre Dame lost the game to USC, 45-27, to fall to 4-8 on the year.
While Tillery did not speak with the media after the game, one of his teammates was clear that what Tillery did on the field was unacceptable.
“You just can’t do stupid things like that,” fellow Notre Dame defensive lineman Jarron Jones said. “That’s going to reflect on you as a player. That’s going to reflect on your character.”
Let’s hope that Tillery, who was suspended for last year’s bowl game for a violation of team rules, learns his lesson and never acts in that way again.