Transparency and targeting the key words regarding rule changes

Christopher Walsh/BamaCentral

SEC Coordinator of Football Officials Steve Shaw makes annual presentation at media days

HOOVER, Ala. — Even though its considered an off year for rule changes in college football, the Southeastern Conference has been busy.

Making his annual presentation at SEC Media Days on Thursday, SEC Coordinator of Football Officials Steve Shaw went over what will be different in 2019, placing an emphasis on transparency and targeting.

A big part of the former was the league launching both a website (secsports.com/officiating) and twitter account (@SECOfficiating ). Commissioner Greg Sankey announced both on Wednesday.

"He challenged us to look at ways to get better, what resources we need," Shaw said. "That's what we've been about in this offseason."

The biggest alterations in the targeting rule has to do with replay, where all three elements will be required to uphold a call: Forcible contact with the crown of the helmet, the player being defenseless, and, here's the key, the aim of attacking the player.

So, for example, a player going for the ball shouldn't be called for targeting. However, to show a good example of what targeting is he used the video of Alabama defensive back Jaylen Moody making a hit across the middle against Auburn, when he ducked his head into the receiver.

Targeting has also been made a more progressive penalty. Any player who is called for targeting for a third time during a season will be disqualified both for the remainder of the game and the following game. There is no appeal.

Although it's an off year for rule changes, which are implemented every other year, other tweaks this season include:

• On special teams, a wedge is now defined as two players shoulder-to-shoulder.

• Blindside blocks have been banned.

• Overtime: There's no change in the first four overtime periods. Beginning with the fifth OT each team will move directly to a two-point attempt.

The move was inspired by the seven-overtime Texas A&M victory over LSU last season.

"That is kind of a game that I'm looking forward to this year just cause of the way it ended. It was such a hard-fought game, and when you lose a game in which you basically play two games in one, it's not very fun," LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said.

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