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Did Meyer Get A Rule Wrong, Too?

Ray Melick of The Birmingham News makes an interesting point this morning regarding Urban Meyer’s comments yesterday — he might not have known the rule he was talking about.

“That should have been a penalty, in my opinion,” Meyer said of a late, away-from-the-ball hit on Tim Tebow.  “Obviously, it should have been.  You’ve got to protect quarterbacks.  That’s the whole purpose.  It’s right in front of the referee.  I’m not sure how they’re going to handle it.”

Alright, so now we’re left to nitpick.

Was Meyer suggesting that there’s a rule to protect quarterbacks?  Mr. Melick believes so and he points out that that’s only an NFL rule designed to protect the “passer” not the quarterback.  Tebow was not a passer on this play, nor was he playing in the NFL.

To be sure, there is an unwritten rule in the pro game that quarterbacks — passing or not — are to be protected.  But that has not been the case in the college game.

But read Meyer’s comments again and it’s not entirely clear what rule he believes was violated.  When I saw the play, I thought that it should have been flagged as unnecessary roughness.  (Much like the bogus call that Florida benefited from during their win against Arkansas.)

Tebow didn’t have the football and was well behind the play watching when he was hammered by Georgia’s Nick Williams.  That’s unnecessary roughness.

But Meyer didn’t say that.  Instead, he said “you’ve got to protect the quarterback.”  Did he mean that that’s a rule?  Or was he just stating his own belief that QBs should be protected?  When he added, “That’s the whole purpose,” we’re left to wonder “purpose of what?”  The rule?

If he thought that was the rule, then that puts him in Lane Kiffin territory.  The commissioner made it clear to UT’s coach that he needs to re-read the rule book.

If the commissioner believes Meyer screwed up this one AND was wrong about the rule, then he’ll need to slap him around for not understanding the rules, as well.

Here are the two coaches’ most recent comments (again) side-by-side.  Do you see a difference?  (Probably depends on what shade of orange you wear.)

Meyer on Tebow hit:  “That should have been a penalty, in my opinion.  Obviously, it should have been.  You’ve got to protect quarterbacks.  That’s the whole purpose.  It’s right in front of the referee.”

Kiffin on Terrence Cody’s helmet removal on a blocked Tennessee field goal:  “If a play’s still going, you can’t take your helmet off.  A guy throws his helmet as the ball’s still live.  He throws his helmet and then two of their guys go and recover the ball.  It’s a 15-yard penalty, and you kick again.”

And Kiffin on why he didn’t try to get closer for the final field goal try:  “You run another play and you throw an interception or they throw another flag on us — I wasn’t going to let the refs lose the game for us there and some magical flag appear.”


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