It was SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw’s turn at the podium Wednesday morning.

The main topic of discussion was the targeting rule. The SEC had 19 targeting calls last season, and seven disqualifications were overturned. Around college football, there were 32 targeting ejections overturned, compared to 92 called. Yes, even though ejections were overturned, the 15-yard penalty still stood.

That’s changing this season. When ejections are overturned, 15-yard penalties will be called back also, unless any other penalties were called on the play.

Shaw added the targeting penalty is the most significant change during his career.

“Really as we talked about last year, probably the biggest change in my officiating career, my 24 years of both on the field and as a coordinator, the targeting change that included now the disqualification, was quite frankly the biggest change, the most significant and most important change that we had had in my tenure as an official,” Shaw said.

“I see evidence of players lowering the target and sometimes pulling up on an unnecessary hit so they’re not at risk for a targeting disqualification. The rule has done what we wanted to do and we need to stay with it.”

Aside from the targeting penalty, another important rules change for 2014 involves protecting the quarterback. When the quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet planted, defensive players can’t hit him forcibly below the knee area. The defensive player also can’t lunge and hit the quarterback at the knee area or below.

“Do you have a strike zone for quarterbacks,” Shaw asked. “And there really is. Now you hit them above the knee and below the neck. That’s really the strike zone for defenders.”

Other important notes:

  • Shaw said three SEC officials left for the NFL.
  • The SEC will expand the experiment of using the 8th official. It will not slow down hurry-up, spread offenses.
  • If numbers are not in contrast to the jersey, a team will be charged a team timeout at the start of each quarter. Basically, if you can’t read the numbers from the press box, it’s not okay.
  • Average replay last year was 1 minute, 20 seconds. “Sometimes longer, but always want it under 2 mins.”