With the internet and TiVo and darn near every SEC football game on television, we now live in a world where week after week fans can dissect plays and penalties right at home and then share their findings with millions of other people via YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
The latest case of such a forensic breakdown comes out of last Saturday’s LSU-Texas A&M game, won by the Tigers 24-19. Late in the fourth quarter, LSU safety Eric Reid was flagged 15 yards for targeting a defenseless receiver — Aggie freshman Mike Evans. It was clearly a late hit on a player who did not even catch the football:
So, the question from many Aggie fans: Will Reid be suspended by the SEC for that hit? If so, the Tigers’ next game comes in two weeks against Alabama.
As usual, we’ve asked the folks at the SEC office for a reply, but our guess — and it’s just a guess — is that Reid will not be suspended. Not because of a conspiracy to keep both teams at full strength for a big game, but because Reid appears to have put his shoulder int Evans’ chest. If this were a helmet-related issue, it might be a questionable call.
We’ve said multiple times now that the SEC needs to be consistent in its rulings and that any player launching himself helmet- or shoulder-first towards another player’s neck/head should be suspended. Regardless of whether it’s a glancing blow or not.
But in this case — at least in this writer’s view — it appears that this is a shoulder-to-chest hit. When we hear from the league, we’ll let you know.
Even if the league doesn’t take action against Reid, it doesn’t mean his reckless play has gone unnoticed. Tony Pauline of SI.com wrote this week that LSU’s safety has hurt his draft stock with his recent performances:
“Reid entered the season with high grades, yet his undisciplined play has thrown up red flags. He posted 11 tackles during the victory over Texas A&M but struggled against the pass and seemed very one-dimensional. Reid was also flagged for two bad penalties, including a 15-yard late hit penalty during the closing stages of the fourth quarter which kept the Aggies in the game. The junior possesses the skills necessary to be a big-time NFL prospect but has not shown the ability to play at a consistently high level.”
On Saturday, Reid’s hit on Evans was dumb, even if you don’t view it as dirty. He helped keep Texas A&M’s hopes of victory alive. There’s nothing wrong with a big hit. But a big hit delivered after the fact against a player who doesn’t even have the ball? Not smart.