The SEC Head of Officials, Steve Shaw, announced a new rule on Day Two of SEC Media Days stating that head coaches stepping onto the field of play to argue a call would be given an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The media covered it fairly well yesterday, but it became a prominent question for coaches today during questionnaire portions.
It started with today’s headliner, Nick Saban, when a reporter asked if he had a plan in place to have a ‘get-back guy’ to help keep him on the sidelines.
“Well, we’ve always had a get-back coach,” Saban replied, referring to strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran’s sideline duties. He then paused a minute and joked, “And we think we need more than one…maybe.”
Saban continued to touch on the subject by discussing his displeasure with the idea of having to be so much more aware of where you are, stating that the videos and images Steve Shaw sent them as examples ‘should have been penalized’ as they were ‘all the way out to the hashmark.’ However, he did not feel this penalty should be assessed to coaches just for stepping onto the playing field and called the rule a ‘sledgehammer’.
Missouri head coach, Barry Odom, took the podium next and was asked a similar question about having a get-back guy. Odom, too, joked about it but then made it clear he had in fact considered it already.
“There are a lot of competitive guys that are coaches. You’re going to feel passionate about it,” he started, “but if I’m looking at our staff on who we need as a pullback coach, [it’s] Brick Haley, our defensive line coach.”
He went on to say that they were already working on how to keep themselves on the sideline and in the right spots.
Mark Stoops, the Kentucky Wildcats’ head coach, followed Odom up on the podium next and – once again – the question was proposed.
Like the others, Stoops began the question with a joke before shifting focus back to the new rule.
“I think it is important to have somebody monitoring…to monitor me. It’s been habit for us.”
Sumlin was the only coach not asked today about the new penalty in the media room, but the press had plenty of other questions for him concerning his job.
Nobody could have predicted it. No one could have seen it coming. But Day Three from SEC Media Days felt a little like ‘get-back guy’- day. Here’s to hoping we hear more about it tomorrow during Day Four.