We were really expecting to get in several yawns this morning during the presentation about rule changes in the SEC. Steve Shaw, Coordinator of Officials for the SEC, walked in and delivered the most informative session we'll likely see this week. Here are the highlights:
- Referees will be in Birmingham next week to be tested on conditioning, rules knowledge, and in-game mechanics.
- The league is going to expand their use of the crew communications system. The NFL has been reviewing the SEC's success with the system, and will start experimenting with it this season as well.
- On the targeting and disqualification rule: The league simply had to address player behavior, and they noticed players lowering their targets as the season went on. Officials are going to continue the emphasis on player safety. If there are accompanying penalties like Roughing the Passer and Targeting, the 15 yard penalty will be assessed regardless of the review. If the foul called on the field is targeting only and the review overturns the foul, the player will be allowed to remain in the game, and the 15 yard penalty will not be assessed.
- On roughing the passer and low hits: A defensive player cannot hit the passer under their own power below the knees when they are in the passing motion. There is no penalty for a low hit if the defensive player is blocked into the passer.
- Changes to reviewable plays for 2014
- Other rule changes for 2014: The HL/SJ and LJ/FJ will be swapping sidelines at halftime this season. Shaw did not dive into any details on this item, but I'm sure the referees are thrilled to get worked up and down the sidelines by two different coaches during a game now. Another rule change is that defensive personal fouls will now be tacked on at the end of the run rather than the spot of the foul outside of the neutral zone.