DESTIN, Fla. – SEC coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw announced a few in-game rule changes that will be implemented in the 2016 season.
One of the changes will involve broadening the definition for a targeting violation. The replay official will still review all targeting calls and will look at all angles to determine at least “one indicator of targeting action.”
On replay now, however, an official can create a targeting penalty that wasn’t called as such on the field in what must be concluded as an egregious instance. Shaw said that targeting penalties don’t necessarily have to result in the initial contact made to the head. The emphasis on the penalty is when it occurs against defenseless players, which includes on blindside hits.
Just because the first contact is made away from the head, it can still result in a targeting penalty if there is secondary contact made to the head and neck area, on a high hit to a defenseless player. Adding to the definition of defenseless players will be all players who give themselves up when sliding to the ground.
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Tripping violations will now be extended to ballcarriers, as those carrying the football were previously allowed to be tripped by what could be construed as non-football plays. In the past, a defensive player was allowed to use his leg to trip up a ball-carrier and not be called for a penalty. Ballcarriers will now be protected under the tripping rule applied to all other players.
Blocks below the waist are now only allowed for offensive linemen inside the tackle box. Tight ends lined up next to a tackle were previously allowed to block below the waist but will now be not allowed to do so. In addition, if a player leaves the tackle box, he cannot re-enter the tackle box and perform a block below the waist anymore.
Penalties will now be called on defensive players who are rushing unabated to the quarterback and deliver a forcible hit to the knee area or below. As long as there is no forcible contact to the knee, head or shoulder area, a defensive player is allowed to grab and wrap a quarterback to make a conventional tackle.
Coaches who commit two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be disqualified from competition.