Ready to talk about another possible SEC suspension?
ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy reported last night that South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles could face punishment from the league for punching LSU offensive lineman PJ Lonergan last Saturday night. (Video below.) Those who’ve been reading this site regarding the LaMichael Fanning situation already know that the SEC typically isn’t into suspending players for actions not considered to be NCAA “points of emphasis” (ie: targeting a defenseless receiver, helmet-to-helmet hits, etc).
In fact, just as was the case in the Fanning incident, SEC associate commissioner and spokesman Charles Bloom told ESPN.com that any punishment will be decided by South Carolina… pending league approval. South Carolina has said that the punishment is up to Steve Spurrier, but the coach hasn’t commented or been asked about the issue.
Gamecock D-line coach Brad Lawing told Columbia’s The State — according to ESPN — that “he had not seen the punch during film study or on YouTube.” Well, here it is for you to see:
Carolina defensive tackle Byron Jerideau told the paper that he saw his teammate swing at Lonergan after the two went to the ground following a first-quarter play: “It happens a lot. The refs don’t see everything. Hopefully, he won’t do it again.”
Yes, hopefully Quarles won’t throw a punch at anyone else. And no the officials on Saturday did not catch the punch or toss a flag.
When asked about a possible suspension, the SEC sent out the same statement it put out in regards to Fanning’s tackle of Russell Hansbrough in the Alabama/Missouri game:
“The SEC has been diligent in reviewing plays that by rule involve the initiation of contact and targeting defenseless opponents to the head and neck area. The conference maintains constant communication with head coaches on matters of penalty violations during the season. In the first instance discipline for violations involving non-NCAA-required automatic conference review are to be handled by the institution subject to the approval of the league office.”
The positive in this is that the league is being consistent. Unless it’s a point of emphasis foul, the SEC office is going to defer to the school. And so long as the school takes appropriate action the league won’t step in and dole out an additional penalty or suspension.
So now we wait to see what Spurrier will do regarding Quarles.
The Gamecocks play at Florida on Saturday, but the big D-tackle didn’t practice yesterday due to a shoulder sprain. Quarles has 30 tackles on the year and recorded seven on Saturday against LSU. He also has 2.5 sacks on the season.