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Blog: SEC officials coordinator on changes to targeting rule and using an 8th official

HOOVER, Ala.–Steve Shaw, the Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials, played the big room Wednesday morning at SEC Media Days.

Someone clapped as he was introduced.

“We don’t get much applause so I appreciate that,” Shaw said.

Shaw outlined the changes coming this season to the application of the targeting rule and provided some data on last season.

There were 19 targeting fouls in the SEC with seven disqualifications, but just five of those targeting fouls came in the second half of the season.

“This is a good trend. We’ve got to stay vigilant as officials and coaches to do this,” Shaw said.

The rule intended to enhance player safety by penalizing and ejecting players who target the head and shoulder area was controversial.

Penalties of 15 yards were assessed even when a call was overturned by replay. Georgia fans were steamed when Ramik Wilson’s call was overturned against Vanderbilt last year but the yards were marked off.

Now the 15-yard penalty will be wiped out on simply targeting calls if they are overturned but not if roughing the passer is also called.

Shaw said fans need to listen up for an official’s call on the field.

“It’s a subtle part of his announcement,” Shaw said. “If you hear him announce personal foul/roughing the passer with targeting regardless of the review the 15-yard penalty (will be assessed).”

The targeting penalty rule has been tweaked to now say that “No player shall target and make forcible contact…” instead of “initiate” forcible contact.

–Shaw also addressed the SEC using an eighth official this season with one crew.

He said there’s a misconception that it is being added for faster pace.

“The intent is not to go faster or slower but to help our guys officiate the game better,” he said.

He doesn’t expect the crew to go any faster in spotting the ball, but will help make calls in the age of spread offenses that may line up in five receiver sets.

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