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After a week of major errors, SEC officials need a bounce-back week

SEC officiating crews need to bounce back after a rough week of high-profile errors.



Last week was a bad one for officials in the Southeastern Conference.

The Penn State-Auburn crew dropped a down.

An “inadvertent signal” by an official in the Mississippi State-Memphis made for a right-but-wrong call.

And, instant replay reversed call (incomplete to catch), but the ball was spotted at the wrong 45-yard line in the Western Michigan-LSU game.

These are serious mistakes in game administration and rules knowledge — by the officials on the field and in the replay booth. As fans scream for a public execution, rest assured; the SEC will hold the mistaken officials to account and those officials will probably miss a game assignment or two.

Each of these mistakes is due to a lack of concentration and a lack of communication. While kicking rules are an adventure, penalty enforcement can cause people to question the down, and there is pressure on the replay booth to get back to the game, these mistakes should not happen.

So, how do officials learn from these mistakes and turn in a satisfactory officiating performance in their next game? They need to be honest with themselves and each other, and get back to the basics on every play. Count players on every play, even you had 11 the last play and there were no substitutions. Pay attention to penalty enforcements. And, if an official feels there might be a mistake, step in, communicate and save the crew.

Finally, it is up to John McDaid, the conference supervisor of officials, to step in and give a pep talk to his SEC zebra herd. Praise in public, criticize in private. He needs to get the officials to turn the page and have each one put in an excellent effort and job each week.

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"