Steve Shaw knows holding when he sees it.

You know, I was gonna get all snarky about Steve Shaw’s criteria for calling holding

“By rule, as long as you’re in proper position, as long as you keep your hands inside his frame, you can pretty much do anything – as long as you’ve got good position on him and as he moves you’re still in good position.

“People see him locked up on (the offensive lineman’s) breast plates and that sort of thing. That’s not holding. OK, by definition that’s not holding. Now when it is, is when I lose my position and he starts to get away, now I’ve got to let him go. I can give him a shove but I can’t hold him back in.”

Then there’s what Shaw referred to as a “point-of-attack” blocking issue, such as a sweep to the right end. If a left tackle sticks his hand out there on a defender, it’s not a call unless it impacts the play.

“We don’t want that call,” Shaw said. “It may be a talk-to-the-player, but it has absolutely no impact to the play, and it has no personal foul, or it has no injury-related component to it, then we don’t want it as a foul. We want uality (sic) fouls. We want fouls that impact the play. Fouls that have an advantage (and a) disadvantage.”

… but I think instead I’m gonna take him at face value and watch a season of SEC ball to see if there’s any consistency to enforcing his standards.  I’m skeptical – “fouls that impact the play” seems like a fairly amorphous concept – but what the hell, maybe there’s more method to his madness than I give him credit for.

Or not.  One thing I do believe is worth keeping an eye this season on is whether the SEC crew with an extra man does a better job monitoring line play than the rest of Shaw’s crews.  Maybe what I perceive as inconsistency is more a product of not having enough eyes to go around than anything else.



Filed under SEC Football

26 responses to “Steve Shaw knows holding when he sees it.

  1. In theory, I agree with everything you quoted. But like you said, it’s the actual application that matters. But I do hate seeing holds called when they had no impact on the play whatsoever. However sometimes you see those types of calls, then a blatant hold right in front of the ball carrier or QB that clearly affects the play goes unnoticed. The impact of the extra official will be interesting to monitor.


  2. Oh, and nice Potter Stewart reference.

    I don’t catch all of your references, but I got that one. 🙂


  3. I find it interesting that Shaw mentions that holiding not a penalty to prevent an injury. Therefore, he doesn’t care unless it’s blatant. The failure to call holding consistently has changed the game and is the reason for the 44-41 shootout games that have become commonplace. The fact that an offensive lineman can grab the jersey of the defensive player as long as he is in proper position is a joke. I wouldn’t want to be a defensive coordinator in today’s game for anything because of how slanted the rules and their enforcement have become for the offense. Don’t even get me started on the targeting rule even with the changes in 2014.


    • Mayor

      +1,000. Grabbing jersey is holding whether you keep your hands inside or not. What a bunch of BS. And this guy is the head of the SEC referees!


  4. Gravidy

    You are in a much more generous mood about this than I am, Senator. I’ve seen way too many holds go unpunished right in front of an official to believe having too few eyes on the field is the problem. Also, I don’t make the distinction between which holds affect plays and which ones don’t. If an offensive lineman has a defender in a choke hold, I don’t care how far away he is from the ball. It should be called.


  5. Beer Money

    Maybe next the SEC officials will assemble a video of how to play football and avoid holding (exclusively featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide), while comparitively offering up plays that would be called as holding featuring the play of the other 13 teams…narrated by Penn Wagers as he sits in an inset box in the corner of your screen as he enjoys a Dunhill and a Glenlivet.


    • Dog in Fla

      “narrated by Penn Wagers as he sits in an inset box in the corner of your screen as he enjoys a Dunhill and a Glenlivet” with a go-to tune to let his freak flag fly


  6. Bulldog Joe

    Good holding:

    Bad holding:

    See the difference?


    • AusDawg85

      Exactly…but either Shaw needs to go into further depth, or more likely like basketball, some fouls from yesteryear just won’t be called today. If I’m an OL and can grab the guy then “shove”, not only did I hold, but it’s a huge advantage of leverage. That’s usually the type of play we see all the time not get called. If I can’t grab the defender, then the only way I get a good “shove” as he clears me is if I have better technique and speed.


  7. Bright Idea

    Now I want him to splain pass interference.


  8. Bulldog Joe

    Good targeting:

    Bad targeting:

    No need for the SEC office to waste time explaining it. We understand.


  9. Cousin Eddie

    I thought a no-holding call is anything done to Ray Drew? Now he is changing the rule great, or am I to assume that is still part of the rule.


  10. Trbodawg

    Interpretations and judgments put too much power into the hands of what should be neutral rules enforcers. What I hear when I read Shaw’s statements is, ” We only want to make calls that are conducive to the outcome we officials (SEC brass) want. If a holding call negatively impacts the team we want to win ( say for National rankings, or playoff eligibility ) then we won’t call it.


  11. One thing I do believe is worth keeping an eye this season on is whether the SEC crew with an extra man does a better job monitoring line play than the rest of Shaw’s crews.

    I’m afraid the extra man is there primarily to allow a faster spotting of the ball in order to speed up play. Sure hope I’m dead wrong about that.


  12. paul

    I saw this the other day too. Seemed odd to me that the head of officiating basically said publicly that there is no such thing as holding unless we say so. For folks like myself, over fifty, it’s maddening to watch what offensive linemen get away with these days. I understand that I grew up in the days of 7 to 6 outcomes, when a high scoring game was 21 to 14. But I still prefer the days of defensive dominance. Of course, I would also rather watch a good pitchers duel than a home run derby.


  13. 69Dawg

    What Steve Shaw really meant was:
    There are no holding calls in the SEC involving the offensive line, unless he offensive lineman literally tackles the defensive lineman and then only if the body of the tackled defensive lineman actually falls at the feet of an official and said official has to step over. In order to offset this imbalance a defensive lineman, not from UGA, may, when freed from his hold totally and completely destroy the QB if said QB is from UGA even if the QB has released the ball 5 to 10 seconds before the hit. UGA defensive linemen touching the QB at any time will be called for targeting and ejected. These calls will be reviewed but no UGA player will ever get the benefit of the doubt. Launching is always forbidden unless the target of the launch is the UGA QB. The SEC refs have dubbed these rules the “Aaron Murray” rules since he has spent 4 years of his life being pounded by the non-calls.

    I would love to see a position by position breakdown of the position called for holding the most. My money is on the tight end. SEC refs love to call holding on the tight end on a sweep.

    I’m old enough to remember when the offensive linemen had to hold their own jersey and if they straighten their arms a hold could be called. Now they are taught to just grab the defensive lineman’s shoulder pads and or jersey and ride him like a damn cowboy. I long for the day when Deacon Jones would just head slap the snot out of the Olineman and run by him while his ears were ringing.


    • Steve Shaw is Eric Cartman: “Whatever, I do what I want.”


      • Macallanlover

        No, he is a combo of Holder + ohbummer, we will decide what laws we enforce and sections of the Constitution is relevant.

        Wonder why these “not impacting the plays” don’t apply to some of the silly calls behind the play on kick returns, and long scoring plays. A clip is dangerous, a simple shove from the side/back isn’t.