HOOVER, Ala. -- SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw gave his annual SEC media days talk Wednesday, and his main subject was rule changes on targeting.
The foul hasn't changed, he said. It's still about a defenseless player being hit above the shoulders or with the crown of the helmet. The list of defenseless has expanded, however.
A punter or kicker is now defenseless the whole down, not just during their kicking motion. Also, a quarterback who throws an interception is now defenseless once possession has changed hands and stays defenseless throughout the down.
"Doesn't mean he can't be hit," Shaw said. "He can be blocked. He just can't be hit above the shoulders."
Also, targeting penalties now mimics the fighting rule. If foul happens in the first half of a game, the player is ejected for the rest of that game. If the foul occurs in the second half, then the player is ejected for the rest of that game then the first half of the next.
Also, every targeting foul will be reviewed, and review could return a player to the game, if no contact above the shoulders is determined. The foul will stand.
"This rule change is probably the most significant rule change in my tenure ever," saw Shaw, who has worked in officiating for 24 years, three as the SEC's coordinator.
Myriad rule changes
Rules change on a two-year cycle. This is the first year of a new cycle, and there are several changes.
Among the most noticeable in a game will be the redefinition of blocking below the waist. In the open field, it has to be done from the front, and officials will use a clock-hands model, gauging from 10 and 2 o'clock.
There will be a 10-second runoff for injuries in the last minute of each half, if the injury is the only reason to stop the clock.
Also, there must be at least three seconds left in the game to spike the ball and run another play. If two seconds or fewer remain, there's time only for a play.
Also, skirmishes that result in offsetting conduct fouls will count as a conduct foul on each player involved. This adds to the already existing rule that results in ejection for player who gets two conduct fouls in a game.
Also, a charged timeout can prevent a player from missing a play for his helmet coming off.