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SEC Media Days Recap: Steve Shaw — capricious rule changes and inconsistent enforcement coming this fall!

Our man, Baghdad Bob in the zebra stripes, did not have a good day.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Washington v Ohio State

Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Steve Shaw, SEC Coordinator of Officials

Yeah, that wasn’t so smooth — having to defend an overtime rule change that literally no one clamored for and, worse, makes little sense.

Backdrop: If there’s not media timeout, then at the beginning of the 2nd and 4th OT period, teams get a 2-minute break. Okay. That seems fine. But, what happens in the 5th OT is nuts. Beginning with the 5th OT, teams no longer line up from the opponent 25-yard line to begin a drive and let defenses try and force a turnover or a FGA, etc. Instead, teams will alternate two point tries.

I wish I were kidding.

In defending this, Shaw pointed to the A&M - LSU 7OT marathon that was longest, highest-scoring NCAA game in history....and was also an instant classic.

That’s a lot of plays. And think of the student-athletes on the field for that time, we needed to take a look at some point we have to get the players off the field. However, nobody wants a tie. That’s No. 1, and No. 2, our overtime procedure is really good. In fact, a lot of people think it’s probably better than maybe the NFL, better than the high school rule.

“A lot of people,” eh? I’m guessing all of those people are in Birmingham, work for the SEC, and hand their grubby paws in messing with this rule.

Shaw also emphasized the new targeting rule and gave a lot of time discussing blindside blocks — those kill shots that I think we all can agree the game is fine without.

Rule 2-3-7 and 9-1-18 define a blindside block as an open field block against an opponent that is initiated from outside the opponent’s field of vision, or otherwise in such a manner that the opponent cannot reasonably defend himself against the block. An exception is when the runner or receiver is in the act of attempting to make a catch.

Further, “no player shall deliver a blind-side block by attacking an opponent with forcible contact. This results in a personal foul, 15-yard penalty. In addition, if this action meets all the elements of targeting, it is a blind-side block with targeting [under Rule 9-1-3 and 9-1-4].

To no one’s surprise, he walked everyone through a blindside block using a film review of...Auburn. #BarnCheatin.

Sure, it was a clip from 2013, but Shaw has been consistently using this play now for almost 5 years as an example of stuff that need to be cleaned up.

In fairness, it was a cheap hit.

(Thanks to Trey for getting this film, but Mr. Schaap is wrong though — the clip was from 2013. It is one of Shaw’s pet plays.)

Finally, while a lot of time and attention was given to targeting, and particularly affirming every element in upholding a penalty, Shaw seemed to signal that the same indicators as always will be in effect:

So, let’s talk about what are the indicators. I know this is a lot. We won’t spend a lot of time here but it’s important you know this is a component that must be confirmed as well. So, if you go back to the -- really the definition of targeting, it again uses that word “attacking” and forcible contact. So that’s a component of it.

But the indicators, they are not limited to these. There can be other indicators. But what we see 95-plus percent of the time in targeting is these are the indicators.

Number one is the launch. We’re all very familiar with that. But the second is a crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust. So many times it’s not a full launch, but you see that upward thrust. That’s an indicator. Leading with the helmet or other components can be an indicator. And then finally just lowering the head before attacking can be an indicator. So, that’s an important part of this.

Same ole’, same ole’ — “crowning” (leading with the helmet) and spearing/launching. You know, basically the rules that have been in place since at least 1983 already.

Anyway, these are going to be absolutely maddening to enforce and, as usual, no one is going to be happy. The lone bright spots from this vantage point are the timeouts in overtime games and requiring that all elements of targeting have been met. But, those bang-bang blocking plays are going to be very hard to enforce. Obviously, no one wants to see someone lined-up for a neck-shattering crusher on an end-around. But, at the same time, when players get rang up switching directions or in pursuit in the open field, the potential to overpenalize legal blocks is going to be just too tempting, I fear. And then we find ourselves in the situation that hockey is in: penalizing the outcome of a play rather than the legality of it.