SEC official defends celebration rule, which is still in place
HOOVER, Ala . — Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials Steve Shaw defended the celebration rule that wiped out Brad Wing’s touchdown against Florida last season, saying the rule worked.
“We had one foul that turned back a touchdown all season,” said Shaw, who opened Wednesday’s SEC Media Days session. “But I think the rule did what it was intended to do. I’ve never seen a year with as little celebration-type things as players went into the end zone.”
Wing scored on a fake punt against the Gators, but the touchdown was called back after the LSU punter extended his arms as he neared the goal line in what was ruled an intent to taunt Florida players.
The Tigers settled for a field goal but won 41-11.
The most significant rule change going into the 2012 season is moving kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line. Shaw said the intent is to create more touchbacks and cut down on injuries during kickoff returns.
In other attempts to promote player safety, Shaw said if a player’s helmet comes off, unless it was the result of a foul, he must leave the field for one play. Players receiving kicks now have what Shaw refers to as a “modified halo” around them — 1 yard of protected space.
Blocking below the waist is also more restricted than before.
Miles: Mike was difficult
EA Sports’ commercial for its “College Football 13” video game starring LSU coach Les Miles and a costumed Mike the Tiger is all the rage, and quickly became a topic during Miles’ Q-and-A session here.
In the commercial, Miles comes across the LSU mascot playing the game with former Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III as an LSU player (a new feature of this year’s version).
Miles rips off Mike’s LSU jersey, narrowing his eyes as he says: “You were like a son to me. A Tiger son.”
“I can’t tell you the number of people that walk by me, and go, ‘Like a son to me, a Tiger son,’ ” Miles said.
Miles complained tongue-in-cheek that Mike stole the show.
“We didn’t get along on the set,” Miles said with a grin. “He was kind of working the camera. It was really a difficult time (smiling).”
Miles said he asked his 13-year-old son, Ben, what he thought of the spot.
“He said, ‘You’ve talked to me like that. You really have,’ ” Miles said.
Banks backs off
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach tweeted Tuesday that Mississippi State cornerback Johnathan Banks boasted he was the best cornerback in the SEC — better, apparently, than LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist.
By the time Banks got into the main interview room, he backed off like he was in prevent coverage.
“I respect him, but I’m not going to compare myself to him,” Banks said. “He’s a good football player, I’m a good football player.”
When pressed again to try to rate his abilities compared to Mathieu, Banks said: “I don’t want it to be all over Twitter who’s better.”
Too late, JB.
Muschamp wants LSU game
LSU officials lobbied unsuccessfully to get the SEC to do away with permanent opponents at the SEC Spring Meeting in May, but Florida coach and former LSU defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said he is in favor of the Gators and Tigers continuing their cross-divisional rivalry.
“I think that Florida-LSU is good for our game,” Muschamp said. “Both programs are operating at a high level.”
LSU and Florida have played every year since 1971. The teams meet Oct. 6 in Gainesville.
Chizik: New teams can play
Auburn coach Gene Chizik, formerly the head coach at Iowa State in the Big 12, said new SEC members Texas A&M and Missouri aren’t getting enough credit for the football clout they bring to their new conference.
“Missouri and Texas A&M aren’t coming into the SEC with their hat in the hand saying, ‘Thank you for letting me be here,’ ” Chizik said. “They’re coming in here to compete and play their tail off on the football field. You can bank on that one.
“I was in the (Big 12) for four years, and I played both of them. To think that Missouri and Texas A&M are going to come in here and all of a sudden they’re going to have their eyes open to football, that’s insane.”
SEC Media Days wraps up Thursday with the final session featuring Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia and Tennessee. The preseason All-SEC team and conference predictions, as selected by members of the attending media, will also be announced.