GAINESVILLE, Fla. Florida coach Urban Meyer believes Southeastern Conference officials missed a late hit on Tim Tebow in Saturday's game against Georgia.
Meyer said Wednesday the crew calling the game should have flagged Bulldogs linebacker Nick Williams for knocking his quarterback to the ground well after he had gotten rid of the football.
Meyer sent video of the play to Rogers Redding, the league's coordinator of officials. Meyer declined to reveal what the SEC told him, saying he didn't "want to step out of line."
Last week the SEC changed its discipline policy about coaches publicly criticizing officials, making the punishment either a fine or a suspensions and doing away with the reprimands. It was unclear whether Meyer would be fined for commenting on officiating.
Meyer told reporters on the SEC conference call the play was directly in front of the referee and should have penalized. Tebow handed off to running back Jeff Demps, took a few steps to his right and wasn't looking when Williams came unblocked off the right edge and slammed into his chest.
"That should have been a penalty in my opinion," Meyer said. "Obviously, it should have been. You've got to protect quarterbacks. That's the whole purpose. It's right in front of the referee. I'm not sure how they're going to handle that, but ... that was one of the plays we did send in."
Meyer didn't mention the play until asked about it Wednesday, possibly trying to avoid drawing punishment from the league. He also prefaced his comments by saying he has "great respect" for SEC officials and the way the league handles complaints.
The SEC decided to stop handing down reprimands for ripping officials last month after three coaches in less than a week were reprimanded.
Commissioner Mike Slive was given full discretion by the league's athletic directors and presidents to hand out the punishment. He will determine the amount of fines and lengths of suspensions on a case-by-case basis.
The SEC's officiating and public complaints by Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen and Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has drawn plenty of unwanted attention for the league.
An officiating crew was suspended after it called penalties the league said were not supported by video evidence in the LSU-Georgia game Oct. 3 and the Arkansas-Florida game Oct. 17. The SEC publicly announced the suspensions, an unprecedented move by the conference.
When told of Meyer's comments Wednesday, Kiffin wondered what would happen to his league counterpart.
"Urban Meyer? Criticized the officials?," Kiffin said. "That will be interesting. We'll see."