USC football coach Steve Spurrier avoided criticizing the officials on the play last week when Tennessee tailback Rajion Neal threw the ball forward near the end of the first half as he was getting pulled down in the backfield by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The play was ruled an incomplete pass, with quarterback Justin Worley as the intended receiver, instead of a fumble.
“I think that the league office said that they made the right call. I think they said that,” Spurrier said. “None of us have ever seen that, I don’t believe.”
He realizes the futility of arguing those types of calls once the ruling is made and after its subsequent confirmation by the conference. But he also predicts that running backs may be more inclined to try it to avoid a big loss if the play can be ruled in that manner.
“A running back -- if he’s running a sweep and about to have a 20-yard loss -- ought to just throw the ball past the line of scrimmage,” he said. “I never taught a guy to do that, but maybe that’s a new fad. He’s a passer, he should just throw it away.”
- Neil White