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How Will The SEC View Big Hit By UGA’s Harrow?

After Saturday’s 45-7 win over Auburn, Georgia’s Mark Richt singled out for praise a wicked lick delivered on a Tiger kickoff return as his favorite play of the game:

“I thought the most impressive play of the game was when Quintavious Harrow had that knock-’em-back, get-everybody-in-the-stadium-excited tackle.  That ignited our football team.”

For good reason.  Harrow’s hit belted Auburn’s Tre Mason into the exosphere.  Of course, the hit was also a pretty clear helmet-to-helmet blow:

So how will the SEC see that play?  Harrow was not flagged by SEC officials during the game.  Perhaps the SEC office will arrive at the conclusion that Harrow leaning in with his shoulder and his helmet and Mason’s motion took him into Harrow’s helmet.  Or maybe the league office won’t view Mason as a “defenseless” player.

While the hit is not as straight-on, no-questions-about-it nasty as the lick that earned Arkansas’ Marquel Wade a suspension two weeks ago, it’s far enough into the same ballpark to draw comparisons:

If Harrow is not given a suspension, you can bet Arkansas fans — some of whom have already been emailing us — will howl (or snort) in protest.

If Harrow is given a suspension of some kind, Georgia fans will yelp.

In the NFL, intent matters little and Harrow would receive a fine for that hit.  But the SEC typically weighs in only on egregious rules violations.  Best guess: The league office will not view Mason as defenseless while it did so in the case of Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Krause, whose eyes were clearly turned toward the heavens searching for a punt.  Mason had the ball in his hands and was returning the kick.

Harrow’s hit was part of a collision.  Wade’s hit was all on Wade as he teed up a punt returner.

But we’ll have to wait and see.  We were correct in expecting a harsh, full-game suspension for Wade, but we were incorrect in believing that LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu would receive a half-game suspension for the blindside clothesline he used on Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick a week ago.

In other words… we’re not Mike Slive.

 


20 comments
Hill Dawg
Hill Dawg

The way Auburn played last week they could have declared a "defenseless player " on every down in the second half..

dawgfan
dawgfan

They're not even comparable. Wade hit a player who was trying to field a punt - AND THE BALL HADN'T EVEN GOT TO THE RECEIVER YET. Harrow's hit was on a ball carrier whom had had the ball for 20+ yards. Both players lowered their heads in anticipation of the collision. There was no intent except to make a tackle. It's called football and those tackles happen every week, without penalty or discussion. Obviously, the announcers thought it was a great hit, too.

mith242
mith242

I'm an Arkansas fan and I do agree with the suspension of Wade. However I don't think he's a horrible dirty player as many suggested. I sincerely think he thought the player had the ball and that he made a good play. Obviously he was wrong. I think what made the play seem a lot worse was his reactions after the play. If you're going to go celebrate and make a big deal after a play like that, then that's the risk you take if it actually turns out to be bad. His reaction after the official announced his ejection was pretty bad. He made a mistake and was punished for it. He even apologized for it and to the Vandy player as well. But as it's been said, fans generally think their player is totally innocent whether he was the person being hit or the person applying the hit. I guess it's hard to be very objective when 'your' team and players are involved.

Some Yahoo
Some Yahoo

If the Bequette standard is used for Harrow. Harrow wins SEC player of the week status.

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Your name and your logic align perfectly. Intelligent conversation is preferred on this comment thread, I would assume.

UofA72
UofA72

Marquel Wade deserved his suspension, and he served it against South Carolina. He didn't play Saturday against Tennessee either. I didn't see him on the sidelines, but could have missed him. Does anyone know if this was an additional one game suspension given by the coaches because of his actions on the sidelines after his ejection?

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Separate suspension, Petrino called it "unspecified violation of team rules." I honestly believe that it was his attitude towards the coaches in meetings and practices.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I agree with most of this article. Clearly, the returner is not a defenseless player along the same lines as the Vandy returner. The only thing that Harrow could've done better would be to lift his head at the tackle so that he's leading with his facemask or shoulder. Don't think it was intentional but it's a close call.

Adam
Adam

Remember the old physics rule that two cars hitting each other at 20 mph equals the same force of a car hitting a brick wall at 40 mph? When 22 people (11 on 11) are sprinting at full speed toward each other, some of whom are making moves to avoid the others, you have the definition of chaos and it's nearly impossible to intentionally hit helmet-to-helmet. Most of these big hits on kick returns are semi-accidental. The combined speed of the play is just too fast. There is no other play in football when two players are sprinting toward each other, often unabated, with a 20-30 yard headstart. Even a punt return...Now, take the Vandy player. He was clearly calling for a fair catch and was practically a stationary target for the Arknasas player to align his helmet - plus, his intention was confirmed by his post-play antics. Considering one came during a live play at full speed in the act of football while the other came during an attempted fair catch, you cannot compare the two regardless of your point about intent. Intent is made irrelevant by the speed of the play in one, and becomes a critical factor in the other.

Lupin
Lupin

OK, I'm a Razorback fan and I don't think that Marquel deserved -all- of the grief he got but this is not the same.

The AU player lowered his head into the defender which, in my mind, puts the helmet to helmet onus on him. The Georgia player did lead with his helmet and does deserve some grief on that count but again, not the same.

redhog
redhog

Really???.....The Ark player celebrated because he thought he made a dirty play? That's just plain stupid logic. He did so because he thought he made a good play, if he hits the guy one second later nobody says a word (or maybe they do in this crazy world), he was flagged for helmet to helmet not for calling a fair catch (was shielding his eyes from the sun). John made the proper comparision, get your facts straight mr. physics.

Lupin
Lupin

Celebrating a dirty play? Please, Marquel thought he had made a good play, you surely don't go to your coach if you know you just did something that costs your team 15 yards.

Some yahoo
Some yahoo

Come on, people. Anyone who reads this blog KNOWS John saves all his distain for Spurrier (specifically) and Carolina (generally). You UGA people are going to have to go to the back of the line if you want John to hate you.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

All...

I think I made it pretty clear how they're comparable -- they are both helmet-to-helmet hits and both would definitely result in fines in the NFL.

I also stated why the plays will likely be viewed differently.

So if you read the above piece and got mad, that's on you.

Repeat: Comparable because they're both helmet-to-helmet; Probably won't result in a suspension because the returner in this case was not defenseless.

Man, the lack of objectivity is frightening. Show an Arkansas hit and the Arkansas people go nuts. Show a Georgia hit and the Georgia people go nuts.

There is no doubt in mind -- not a bit -- that if Joe Paterno had been coaching at an SEC school, that school's fans would have rioted to keep him just as Penn State's students did. But I don't offer them blind allegiance. Sorry Celts and Pats.

Just because someone points out the similarities in two hits and asks a question, it doesn't mean that person is out to get your school, hates your school, or loves some other school.

Yeesh.

John

knoxvilledawg
knoxvilledawg

Harrow hit the kid during a live play. Both players lowered their heads. The Ark hit was during a fair catch. Then the kid celebrated decapitating a man who should never have been hit. How are they comparable?

keith dunn
keith dunn

How is this comparable? One was a dirty, cheap shop while Harrow's was good hard football. If that kind of play is penalized we should just
start watching tennis.

H-Town Dawg
H-Town Dawg

Surprise, surprise! Anything to bash UGA. It must suck not being able to run any UT-friendly pieces so apparently the next best thing is to attack the Dawgs and/or their fans at every opportunity.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

H-Town Dawg...

I need for you to contact all the Tennessee people who come here and accuse me of attacking their team. Maybe you can convince them of what a big Tennessee fan I am.

John

JoP
JoP

Defensive much?

JoP
JoP

Harrow's hit is just football. The ball carrier lowered his head into contact.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Earlier today we posted video of two plays, both involving helmet-to-helmet contact in SEC action.The first play involved Georgia’s Quintavious Harrow.  Over the weekend, he lowered his head and collided with Auburn kick returner Tre Mason.  The second play involved Arkansas’ Marquel Wade and occurred two weeks ago.  Wade has given a full-game suspension for his hit on Vanderbilt punt returner Jonathan Krause.The two plays were comparable — in our view — because both involved a good bit of helmet-to-helmet contact.  (And with the NFL doling out fines for all manner of helmet-to-helmet hits, questions exist among many fans regarding what is and isn’t a helmet-to-helmet foul in the college ranks.)  While the plays were comparable, we stated that we did not feel Harrow’s hit was nearly as flagrant as Wade’s because a) Harrow’s hit was part of an all over collision and b) Mason was not a defenseless player.In Wade’s case, the collision consisted almost entirely of the helmet-on-helmet blast and Krause had his eyes turned skyward searching for the punt, the very definition of a “defenseless” player.We reached out to the SEC for the league’s take on these types of plays in general, and chief PR agent Charles Bloom responded as follows:“These hits are a point of emphasis for the conference and (have) been a national issue.  The league is concerned about the player’s safety and strives to be consistent in the rulings.  The SEC reviews these hits each week to determine if there are any additional penalties.  According to the rulebook, helmet-to-helmet contact, in itself, is not a penalty.  If you notice during games, the referee will use terms such as ‘targeting a defenseless player’ or ‘using the crown of helmet to initiate contact.’”The rules specifically dealing with these hits are as follows:Rule 9-1 article 3 – No player shall target an initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet.  When in question, it is a foul.Rule 9-1 article 4 – No player shall target an initiated contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.  When in question, it is a foul.Let’s look at the hit by Harrow again:Did Harrow lead with the crown of his helmet?  If you pause the play, then yes, it appears he did lower his head which caused the top of his helmet to strike Mason’s helmet.  But did he target and initiate contact against Mason specifically with the crown of his helmet?  It doesn’t appear so.  In fact, it looks like poor tackling technique — lowering the head endangers the tackler as much as the player being tackled — as Harrow dropped his shoulder (and head) and went for the big hit rather than the safer wrap-up.As for Rule 9-1-4, was Mason defenseless?  Again, we say no.  He had caught the ball, was returning it, and Harrow came into him from the side and front.  This was not a blindside hit.Nor was it anywhere near as vicious as Wade’s hit two weeks ago.However, with the NFL (with its fines) and college conferences making helmet-to-helmet hits “a point of emphasis,” the subtle nuances between different hits will no doubt continue to be scrutinized.And for many, the difference between a penalty and a fair play will ultimately just come down to which color jersey a player is wearing. [...]



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