Arkansas freshman wide receiver Marquel Wade has been much maligned for the hit he dished out against Vanderbilt punt returner Jonathan Krause in Arkansas’ 31-28 victory over the Commodores on Saturday.
Wade, who was penalized and ejected for the hit with 9:32 left in the game, apologized for his actions during a press conference Monday, and defended the hit saying he thought Krause was carrying the ball when he leveled him.
“I really want to apologize for any embarrassment I caused for the fans and this organization,” he said. “Any situation I get into or whatever is said, I have to take – what I did was wrong, but I thought he had the ball. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Wade made a poor decision, but defended his intent on the play.
“He really thought that the guy was catching the ball,” Petrino said. “That’s an issue where we have to do a good job of really going back and seeing how we’re teaching it and making sure we get away from it if the ball’s not there. We had a play the week before (at Ole Miss) where (LB-Terrell Williams) timed it perfect. The ball was caught and he made a big hit and that was a great play. And I think in Marquel’s mind he thought he was doing the same thing but the ball was not there.”
Wade, who celebrated the hit, and had to be restrained by an Arkansas coach while he was escorted from the field Saturday, said that he let his emotions get the better of him.
“I thought I just made a good play and that’s all I can say about that,” he said. “I was just going out there and going 100 percent, trying to play my game. I messed up and I take all the responsibility for what I did.”
There has been no word yet on whether Wade will be punished further by the SEC for the hit, but Petrino said he was concerned with Wade’s sideline behavior.
“We have to make sure we address what goes on after the situation,” Petrino said. “That’s the thing I didn’t like.”