Sunday Blog: SEC rule needs changing

Florida coach Dan Mullen, left, and Vanderbiltcoach Derek Mason meet on the field after their game Saturday in Nashville, Tenn. Florida won 37-27. Mullen prefers not to talk about what prompted his Gators and the Commodores to spill off the sidelines. Mason says a Florida player said something to the Vanderbilt coach. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Sunday Blog comes at you from the Charlotte Airport finishing up our third trip in four weeks. Nothing but in-state games from here on out.

  1. The penalty assessed to both benches in Saturday’s Florida-Vanderbilt game was a new rule put in this year and you can expect plenty of discussion on it the next time the SEC gets together. No matter the intent of the rule, any rule that can result in a player’s disqualification from a game when he is sitting on the bench doing nothing is a stupid rule. I’m surprised nobody thought about that. I’m all for keeping players under control (and in this case coaches), but it’s simply not a good rule.
  2. I know that I quote Tom Petty a lot, but Saturday brought to mind these lyrics from “Hard To Find a Friend.”

“Everything changed/

Then changed again.”

That was our college football landscape on a Saturday where upsets were flying and near-upsets were multiplying like rabbits. My AP ballot now has Ohio State at No. 2, Clemson at No. 3, Notre Dame at No.4, Texas at No. 5 and LSU at No. 6. A week ago, LSU’s schedule was going to be a gauntlet after the Florida loss. Now, they have a legitimate shot at the CFP. So does Georgia despite a drubbing in Baton Rouge. I have the Gators at No. 12 and that in itself seems hard to believe.

  1. Florida’s offensive explosion Saturday is another illustration that it’s coming around on that side of the ball for the Gators. And because of that game, Florida is all the way up to 67th nationally in total offense and 34th in the more important yards per play. Hey, it’s not the Fun ‘n’ Gun, but it’s better than what we’ve been watching around here for the last eight years. More than anything, I think most fans have genuine confidence in the coaching staff.
  2. OK, I’ll be able to sit back and watch ball with the rest of you this week. Looking forward to it and even though it’s not a dynamic schedule, we know better, right? Here is Saturday’s Four-Pack:

Michigan at Michigan State, noon, Fox.

N.C. State at Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.

Mississippi State at LSU, 7 p.m., ESPN.

Oregon at Washington St., 7:30 p.m., Fox.



  1. And the targeting rule could use some common sense too. Targeting implies intent. In yesterday’s Washington – Oregon game. a Washington player had the Oregon quarterback in his grasp for a sack, the quarterback spun around breaking the grasp and then collided with a Washington player who was pursuing him. As both were upright, their helmets hit. The Washington player was ejected for targeting. Football is a rough game, and players must be protected from shots meant to intimidate or put them out of the game. But then we could always switch to flag football.

    • I agree completely with your premise that targeting requires intent. You can certainly have dangerous contact without intent, so if you want to penalize any sort of dangerous contact the penalty shouldn’t be called “targeting”. So often, you see the initial contact to the chest, but the defender’s helmet rides up and makes contact with the ball carrier’s helmet. That certainly can be dangerous contact, but it isn’t targeting above the shoulders; the target was clearly where the initial contact was made, and the contact with the helmet was incidental. Calling that targeting requires the official to read intent into a situation where intent can’t be demonstrated.

    • I also agree. Didn’t see the play with the Washington player, but that’s also why they have a replay official look at any targeting call so that those types of incidents don’t get punished. The one on Houston was completely targeting, not because he did helmet to helmet, which he didn’t, but because he took out a guy who wasn’t even looking his direction. It’d be one thing if the guy was running down the sideline chasing and he came in from the side and knocked him out of the way, but the “crack-back” block that was pretty much called is always, and should always be called for targeting. That’s too bad about the Washington player though if that was the case….PAC-12 isn’t known for their good refs anyways. I also agree that the whole team getting an unsportsmanlike penalty, which made Joseph have to leave the game….by the way he was acting, I don’t think he even left the bench. I know that the announcers made a huge deal about the first one, but he had the player when the whistle blew, and when that player kicked his leg up, that’s what made him fall down on top of him…..really looked worse that he was actually doing imo. But then again….I was rooting for the Gators.

      • Agree on all counts, Corey. I think the targeting call on Houston was for forcible contact to a “defenseless” player (i.e., unaware of the hit he’s about to receive), which I believe can be called even without contact above the shoulders or launching. Still, it’s a complicated rule that, imo, even the replay officials seem to be inconsistent in their application.

    • If I was Mullen, Vosean would be running a lot of extra wind sprints this week. Not for being ejected, but for acting like an idiot when he was being escorted by the coaching staff. When your coaches and staff tell you it’s time to go…You need to go.

    • Scott Ingram. Almost as stupid as Joseph lifting up the Vandy player after the whistle and trying to slam him down on his head, which resulted in his first stupid personal foul. Do not do that stupid thing on the field and he is not out of the game for some other stupid thing he was not involved in while sitting on the bench.

        • No, screaming at and shoving everyone including his coaches, his teammates, and total strangers on the way down the sideline absolutely shows no out of control emotions. I can understand why he thought the ruling was unjust. But that kind of behavior on the sidelines is embarrassing to the Florida program. And it shows a total lack of personal responsibility and respect for his teammates and coaches in my opinion. And playing under control has also been an issue for Joseph on the football field as well, from trying to slam a player down on his head after the whistle to overrunning his gaps and not staying in his area of coverage. Hopefully, he will learn and grow from his inappropriate, although understandable behavior for both personal foul calls. Learn from adversity, as his coach repeatedly says.

      • No, they won’t show that, because it didn’t happen. Just watched the replay several times. That penalty was actually caused by Zuniga shoving the RB in the back as Joseph had him lifted around the waist. The force from Zuniga’s shove knocked Joseph off his feet and caused him to fall on top of the RB, making it appear that Joseph had slammed him to the turf. Watch it, pay attention to Zuniga’s right hand, and see if you don’t agree. If not, then I suppose that’s why replay officials can watch the same replay that we see and still come up with a call that nobody agrees with.

        • That’s what I saw too. That’s why Joseph seemed so surprised when a penalty was called on him. Besides those type of penalties are so unevenly called. A much more egregious player plant happened when a TAMU player planted #13 from SC. It’s on the week 7 Top Plays of the week about 42 seconds in.

        • Exactly Joe…saw that too. I get all of Joseph’s frustration as did the team…and don’t know of this “issue” of him losing control. His issue was overrunning plays and needing to read his keys and play smarter.

  2. Meanwhile, the boo birds were out in South Carolina and LSU’s quarterback when from goat last week back to hero. Up one week, down the next. Georgia fans are going to be screaming for last year’s hero Jake Fromm to be benched as he has looked really off. Losing two NFL backs must be part of it, but his decision making and technique look sloppy. Still, he’s just one win away from being a hero again.

  3. As everyone is posting, besides our first half mistakes, this was a horribly called game. The refs would not throw a hold flag around the Vandy QB! After #1 Bama, its everybody else. If ND was in the SEC, they would be maybe 2-2 in league play. I’ve watched them some, no big deal, just the usual Media darlings. Mullen and staff are demonstrating their management skills are at a new higher level each week. After the LSU home win over UGA, we appear to have a 50/50 shot at Atlanta and a fight against George Foreman/Mike Tyson Bama…woo hoo. Mullen is a master at carrying the O with his play calling.

  4. A new rule that with a single sweeping personal foul penalty on the “entire bench” disqualifies every player who already has one personal foul.
    Stupid beyond belief. How could presumably intelligent men who spent their lives with college football be dumb enough to enact this rule?

    • Yes…two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls cause the player to be ejected and they must sit out the next half. So, if a player is ejected in the first half, then they must sit out the 2nd half, but are eligible for the next game. Ejected in the 2nd half, the player must sit out the first half of the next game.

      • So, in theory, a second unsportsmanlike call on the bench in the second half would (could) result in the entire team being ejected, thus forfeiting the current game, and also being disqualified for the first half of the next game, forfeiting that game as well?

          • Can’t wait for that to happen (as long as the Gators aren’t involved) to see the look on the refs’ faces trying to figure out if the really have to eject a whole team and end the game! It’s not likely, but what if the two team PF’s happened within the first five minutes of the first quarter? Some people would just be getting to their seats only to find the game was already over. Of course, it’s possible that the rule book clarifies this, but it would be interesting to watch the ref’s on the field have to sort it all out.

  5. Why was the Vandy coach over on our sideline? Joseph’s disqualifidation was a STUPID call. And I believe his “head to head” contact was nothing more that the result of his head being at the same plac as his body was. It was a clean tackle of going for the body of the QB to make a play.

    • Buddy. What are you talking about concerning Joseph????? And the Vandy coach was over there near the sideline taking care of and concerned about his player laying down on the field with blood pouring out of his mouth due to a vicious, uncalled for, and very dirty hit by Houston during a punt return. But he certainly should not have started yelling at the Florida players and coaches. And I am sure the SEC office will address that with him this week.

      • He was there for his player, which is certainly his right, however he needs to keep his mouth shut. I contend that it was Mason’s mouthing off that nearly started the brawl. And it doesn’t even matter if he didn’t start the chatter, he is on the Gator side of the field and should have strictly attended to his player. When he started talking trash was when his team moved from their sideline to beyond the middle of the field encroaching on the Gator sideline. And even if he did it to fire his guys up, it backfired and got the Gators all fired up instead and could have descended into a very nasty brawl which would have reflected poorly on Vandy, UF and the SEC.

      • TG, I don’t think I would call the hit by Houston dirty. On more than one angle it looks like his shoulder hit the players shoulder first; and then the helmets collided. Houston did not lead with the helmet. So while vicious, and how many big clean up hits are applauded by football fans, it did not look to me like he was leading with the helmet to the other player’s helmet.

        Joseph’s body slam of a player after the whistle is completely uncalled for and very undisciplined. I know football is an emotional game but you have to keep field awareness. To the accounts that I have heard so far however, as to his ejection for the all-team personal foul penalty, he was sitting on the bench and not on the field. Since he was not participating in the fiasco, he didn’t understand why he was being ejected. That is why he was so upset.

  6. It’s all up for grabs now. Who ever wants it the most will win the SEC EAST. The Gators looked tired yesterday. After a big win against LSU who could blame them. They seem to get more energy after the almost brawl before half time. I said before the LSU, Georgia game that the bulldogs were not unbeatable. I didn’t LSU would beat them, I thought it was going to be the Gators. We better get well prepared because after their lost they will be ready to play us. Wonder where we are now in the polls. Good Day……………..

  7. score one for ole dooley again. this could get weird if they dont change it and soon. lets say in the championship game something like this happens, and whole teams get disqualified. thats going to go over well with advertisers.
    in the meantime we have some work to do! this is going to be more important to kirby smart than beating bama in the championship game. if he loses this one at the cocktail party he will start to look like muschamp 2.0, which ask the booing south carolina fans if that is what you really want for a coach.
    i like our chances in an ugly one.

  8. Watching the replay of the game today, and I wouldn’t have a problem with Vosean being ejected much earlier for the completely stupid WWE move. And then he had the nerve to act like he didn’t do it. The new rule will possibly be changed, but it wouldn’t have been a big deal if Vosean wasn’t stupid earlier. I don’t always agree with the targeting calls…but they aren’t going away. CTE has changed the way football will be played and officiated.
    Go Gators!! It’s time to get ready to beat the mutts.

    • Sparky, you’re absolutely right about the CTE issue, but I really think Joseph was knocked off his feet and fell on top of the RB rather than slamming him down. From the replay, it looks to me like Joseph was pulling and lifting the RB around his waist when Zuniga shoved the RB in the back. I think the force from the shove knocked Joseph off his feet, causing him to fall on top of the RB. Although in real time, it did look like something out of WWE, I really don’t think it was intentional. As reasonable fans, we want our own players to be held accountable for their actions, but we don’t want to throw them under the bus either.

  9. Please clarify, if the team had been assessed another team personal foul in the second half, would the entire team have had to forfeit the game? Would they also have to sit out the first half of the next game, letting the other team score at will?

    • If a “team PF” disqualifies anyone who already had one, I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

      Which is insane. The idea behind the “2 PF’s and you’re gone” rule is to create some INDIVIDUAL responsibility for dirty play. But Joseph’s DQ was a case of “guilt by association” – what was he supposed to do to avoid being DQ’d?

      (Yes, I know … “Don’t get called for the 1st one.” But once that happens, then what?)

  10. GoGators1983. There would never be a rule that would state such a much more stupid thing to take place. But a second team personal foul would result in any additional individual player being ejected that had committed a personal foul after the first team personal foul, no doubt.

    • That sounds logical. But what is the actual rule? Are you quoting the rule book?

      So if the team foul had happened first, and then Joseph had gotten a personal foul, then he wouldn’t have been ejected? Does order matter? If the rule is just simply 2 PF and you are gone (and a team PF counts as one) is it possible to get two team personal fouls? And would that instantly end the game?

      Also, if Joseph had gotten his “personal” PF in the 2nd half would he have to sit out the first half of the next game, or is that just for targeting that it carries over to the next game and not the two PFs? I want to know the actual rule, not just what seems logical.

  11. Noting despite the above conversation that we currently rank 67th nationally in offense. That represents an enormous improvement over last year, although we certainly have a ways to go to get back to the “Gator standard”. This, of course, being a multi-year building process — pretty encouraging wouldn’t you say?

    • It’ll be better than 67th after this week: 576 Total yd; 292 rushing, 284 passing, 31 first downs, 6.3 yds per play. These are the kind of numbers that make me feel good about our near and long-term future. Plus, Franks seems so much more at ease with the offense and things don’t rattle him like they did last year.

      Go Gators!!

  12. We all would to impress each other by how prescient our words if months ago were when we made our various forecasts for this team. At least I would. I laugh now st the abuse I took on another site for saying a) Franks would improve enough to become an effective QB under Mullen; b) we had a team capable of being second in the SEC East and able to challenge UGA for the trip to Atlanta; and 3) that this was a 10-win team, possibly 11. My thoughts didn’t arise in a vacuum but came from reports from others far more knowledgeable than I. That’s to say, I’m enjoying the give-and-take here far more than I’ve found elsewhere. Along those lines, all of us can note his unit by unit this Florida team had made significant jumps forward. First it was special teams, then our defensive unit. So was Saturday’s 576 yards and 37 points, all produced by our offense, an indication of a great leap or at least a significant step forward for that group? I believe it was and that the Gators, not Georgia and certainly not Kentucky, will face Alabama (or maybe LSU) in the SEC Championship game. And why not? LSU was the first better than average opponent UGA has faced. Mullen and his well seasoned staff have already done remarkable work with a team in tatters just a year ago.

    • Clyde, I am right there with yah! I had us at 9 and 3 with a possibility of 10 and 2 before the season. I had said we would win one or two games that nobody believes we will (MSU and LSU) and need to guard against losing to teams we shouldn’t. I too had paperwork sent to the funny farm to have me committed.

  13. Message to Pat Dooley – Please tell Coach Mullen that my wife and I will treat the entire Gator football team and the entire Gator football coaching staff to homemade lasagne – my wife is a Sicilian Italian and her lasagne is quite arguably the BEST ON EARTH. This wonderful treat will only happen if the FLORIDA GATORS BEAT THE GEORGIA BULLDOGS. GO GATORS!!!!

  14. The SEC rule should apply that penalty to the HBC, not to every player. And I read the entire targeting rule it has way too many specific things in it not related to helmets or even hits above the shoulders. It effectively bans crack back blocks like the one that I though was great football.

  15. HS football official here. From Texas where we use NCAA rules. Also a Gator, class of 90-something.

    The rule that got Mr. Joseph disqualified is a NCAA rule, not SEC. It is akin to a baseball game where the umpire warns both dugouts not to throw at batters. I believe it was properly used in this situation.

    What got #11 disqualified was not the bench clearing brouhaha, but his body slam of the ball carrier earlier in the game. I was disappointed in his DQ as all Gators should be, but he never should have been in that position to begin with.

    Overall I was not impressed with this crew (I don’t recall seeing that Referee before), but I figure there’s a reason that crew was working UF-Vandy and not LSU-UGA.

    • No the team unsportsmanlike conduct was the second one and so by rule was the foul that got Joseph ejected. That is why the rule is so stupid. It has the potential to be really stupid. What if the team gets a second unsportsmanlike conduct rule. Do they forfeit the game? If the team gets a second unsportsmanlike conduct foul say in the second half of the game, does the team sit out the first half of the next scheduled game? Do they forfeit the next scheduled game? Fouls are acts committed by individuals either by omission or commission and should be assigned to an individual. These team fouls should be assigned to an individual. The Head Coach comes to mind as the person responsible for the conduct of the team and should have those fouls assigned to them. When a delay of game penalty is called, the crew doesn’t call it on the entire offense, they call it on the quarterback who is responsible for the actions of the offense.

    • Yes sometime in 2013 the NFL and NCAA ruled crack back or peel back blocks illegal and subject to penalty. It has to do with the new philosophy of minimizing injury on unprotected players. It’s generally a good rule and that was why it was called targeting.

      • The player blocked was ahead of the runner and getting in position to make the tackle; he was not a “defenseless player”. Just because he wasn’t looking at the blocker shouldn’t be a reason for the targeting call – he was looking at the ball carrier and running towards him that is why he got blocked. The only thing that was legit about the call was the blocker may have left his feet, which would be a “launch”. He didn’t use his helmet as a weapon so it wasn’t a classic targeting call. He just creamed the guy from the frontside with helmet & body positioned to hit on the shoulder pads, which used to be called good football.

  16. From the first time I saw a player ejected for “targeting” I thought it was wrong. Ejections should be very rare, and never for unintended actions. Targeting should be a 15 yard personal foul and that’s all. I don’t ever remember seeing a “targeting” penalty called for something malicious. It changes the game too much when a star athlete or important defensive back is ejected. Let the kids play football.

  17. Oh and btw, the gesture of Vandy’s tight end to Cece Jefferson after Vandy’s first touchdown pass technically is an unsportsmanlike action. Any action that demeans another player is by rule unsportsmanlike and his actions were tantamount to taunting Jefferson. So if he gets an unsportsmanlike conduct foul there, the second team unsportsmanlike foul would have disqualified him as well.

    Just saying.

  18. Watch Van Jefferson’s catch @ 2:40 mark in 1st qtr. He gets picked up and suflexed very similar to the call on Joseph. However, officials didn’t even flench. Poorly called game. So many Vandy holds missed too. However, gotta give Ivey profs for not having a false start. First game this season I think.