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Dr. Saturday

Arkansas receiver apologizes for fair catch cheap shot (Updated)

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Arkansas freshman Marquel Wade used the Razorbacks' media day Monday to tell reporters he's sorry.

During Saturday's game against Vanderbilt, Wade laid a vicious hit on Commodores punt returner Jonathan Krause as he was waiting for a ball to arrive. Wade hit Krause, who was defenseless, celebrated the play and was ultimately ejected. Wade reacted poorly to the ejection and was escorted off the field by strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp.

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"I thought I just made a good play and that's all I can say about that," Wade 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."

The SEC has not suspended Wade, who was defended and ridiculed in the moments after the play hit YouTube, and it is unknown whether a league suspension is looming. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino defended Wade and said his coaching staff needs to do a better job of teaching players to see whether a returner has the ball before putting on a hit.

"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 [linebacker 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."

Even though Krause stayed down for a while and needed medical attention, he did come back into the game.{YSP:MORE}

Whether suspended or not, Wade made a major mistake that could have resulted in a serious injury. Still, it takes a lot of moxie, whether of his own accord or forced by the coaches, to get up in front of the media and issue a heartfelt apology. It was apparent that he didn't understand what he did at the time of the hit, but probably after seeing the film or even hearing about it, he realized that he had arrived much earlier than he thought.

He's a freshman, mistakes happen and kudos to Petrino for making an effort to make sure a similar situation doesn't happen again.

"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."

UPDATE, 3:22 p.m. ET. The SEC has suspended Wade for one game, according to a statement on the conference website:

Wade's action was in violation of NCAA Football Rule 6-4-1 for a flagrant violation of interfering with an opportunity to catch a kick and NCAA Football Rule 9-1-3 for targeting and initiating contact with an opponent using the crown of his helmet.  The play occurred at the 9:32 mark of the third quarter.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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