What He Said!

Today being Columbus Day and the federal holiday having created something of a slow news cycle, it seems folks are still talking about that infamous unsportsmanlike conduct call on LSU’s punter Brad Wing near the end of his 52-yard fake punt would-be touchdown in Saturday’s 41-11 pasting of Florida.

The consensus seems to be something along the lines expressed today by the Denver Post’s John Henderson, whose jib we’ve decided we like the cut of…

Hey, refs, nice call.

It was nice to see the refs call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on LSU punter Brad Wing’s touchdown on a 52-yard fake punt. I’m sure Florida’s return team would’ve needed intense therapy for Wing’s unconscionable, savage display of taunting when he opened up his arms and looked over his shoulder as he ran into the end zone.

Concussions? College football can live with that. But the immeasurable psychological damage unleashed on young players by sideways glances should NOT be tolerated.

Technically speaking, the penalty was at least a defensible call. And watching the replay of the game last night, LSU coach Les Miles didn’t hesitate to use it as a “teachable moment” to Wing – grabbing him on the sideline after the play and making him watch the replay, which the Cox Sports Television cameras caught, complete with Wing’s pained eye-roll after seeing himself spread his arms. Miles also lit into Wing later in the game for a lax effort at running downfield to cover one of his punts, making for a slightly different impression of the game the Australian had upon further review than it seemed watching it live.

Still, Henderson is right. Wing’s “display” was hardly more than shrugging his shoulders. Miami-style swagger, this was not.

There were a number of controversial calls in the game, though not all of them went against LSU. Still, it was a shaky enough display of officiating that many among the Tiger fan base have convinced themselves that referee Matt Austin’s crew will without question be the officials in Tuscaloosa Nov. 5 – and if LSU isn’t able to beat Alabama decisively that day Wing’s penalty is but a taste of what’s coming. The Wing debacle isn’t the first for Austin, after all.

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