Gamecocks' Swearinger suspended one game for helmet hit

Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 1:47 PM
Last updated 7:10 PM
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COLUMBIA — The Southeastern Conference has suspended South Carolina free safety D.J. Swearinger for a game after his hit on a defenseless UAB receiver.

The announcement Monday means Swearinger will miss the seventh-ranked Gamecocks’ game this weekend against Missouri.

A personal foul was called against Swearinger after he launched into UAB’s Patrick Hearn while breaking up a pass in the third quarter Saturday. The side of Swearinger’s helmet crashed into Hearn’s facemask. Both players stayed in the game.

Swearinger’s immediate backup on the depth chart is walk-on Jared Shaw, but the team hopes to get Akeem Auguste back on the field this weekend after surgery in August on his right thigh muscle.

Swearinger had a 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown against UAB and an interception against East Carolina to go with 10 total tackles this season.

The senior posted a video of the hit on his Twitter account, writing “Big hit against uab!!!” The post was deleted just minutes after the suspension was announced.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said he would talk about the suspension at his news conference Tuesday.

Spurrier pointed out Sunday that a Vanderbilt player was given a 15-yard penalty but no suspension for a similar hit against Gamecocks tight end Justice Cunningham.

“It’s sort of interesting. If you hit him right in the knees when the ball gets there or right in the belly, I guess that’s OK. But anything above the shoulders is considered off limits right now,” Spurrier said.

The SEC responded with a statement saying that the Commodores Andre Hal didn’t lower his head and that most of the contact was to Cunningham’s shoulder. The glancing blow to the helmet was what prompted the penalty, but it wasn’t enough for a suspension.

In Swearinger’s case, “the contact was initiated by a slight launch of the defender into the receiver and the primary contact was targeted directly into the receiver’s facemask,” the SEC said in its statement.

Spurrier also said he thinks the NCAA should protect quarterbacks after they release a pass. Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw was knocked out of the UAB game after a brutal hit reinjured his slightly fractured shoulder blade on his throwing arm right after he released a 20-yard completion.

“In the NFL, they protect them a little bit better than we do in college,” Spurrier said of quarterbacks. “We do everything to protect helmet-to-helmet injuries, and protecting defenseless players. But to me, after the quarterback has thrown the ball and you know he has already thrown the ball, that should be a defenseless player.”

Comments (17) Add comment
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Karen Slater-McDaniel
3098
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 09/17/12 - 02:06 pm
1
1
Well ... DAMN! Sorry to hear

Well ... DAMN! Sorry to hear that news ... the hit was ... well pretty much on purpose ... but football is a CONTACT sport!

KSL
121999
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KSL 09/17/12 - 02:37 pm
2
1
And because it is, there

And because it is, there have to be SOME rules. Receivers, punters, kickers, and quarterbacks are particularly vulnerable and have to be protected.

itsanotherday1
40338
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itsanotherday1 09/17/12 - 02:37 pm
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2
Spurrier: "wahhh, wahhh,

Spurrier: "wahhh, wahhh, wahhhh".

KSL
121999
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KSL 09/17/12 - 02:42 pm
2
1
Not whining

But if the hits were similar, he does have a point.

KSL
121999
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 02:51 pm
2
1
The players

Would not respect a coach who didn't make a point of questioning the disparity of the penalties. He has to do his job of heading up his team.

Team means exactly what it says. Team, not a bunch of individuals with several all stars.

KSL
121999
Points
KSL 09/17/12 - 03:01 pm
2
1
How can you expect players on

How can you expect players on any level of sports activity to perform if there is no consistency of foul calling on that particular level of play?

Just My Opinion
5288
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Just My Opinion 09/17/12 - 03:33 pm
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Where was Spurrier's concern

Where was Spurrier's concern for Shaw when he continued to allow Shaw to play, even after he went to the sideline complaining of shoulder pain?
And the reason the Vandy player was only given a 15-yard penalty for a similar hit is because that's all the refs can do during a game. A suspension is handed down from the SEC office AFTER a coach places a complaint about the offending player. The Vanderbilt player wasn't suspended because Spurrier did NOT put in a complaint about his play. Folks, Spurrier KNOWS this....so you tell me why he's complaining about it now.

Oh, one more thing...you Carolina fans better watch out for Missouri. They're better than you're giving them credit.

justthefacts
20452
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justthefacts 09/17/12 - 04:30 pm
1
0
Consistency

Have not seen the play. The only thing consistent about these types of issues is the inconsistency. It's a judgement call. On another note, Tiger QB James Franklin's status is unclear. That would be a huge break for the cocks.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3098
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Karen Slater-McDaniel 09/17/12 - 06:36 pm
2
3
JTF ... it was a full fledged

JTF ... it was a full fledged headbutt ... helmet to helmet. Kind of in a spearing like position but head to head. It was intentional (as much as I love my Gamecocks) and very unnecessary. And UAB came out prettystrong too. I never discount teams ... upsets happen constantly. As for Connor Shaw he needs to be sidelined. Dylan Thompson is running circles around him ... And I understand rules KSL ... I'm far from a moron ... but competitive sports are risky. No different from intentional bumps in NASCAR. Illegal but they happen. It's the nature of the beast.

rmwhitley
5526
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rmwhitley 09/17/12 - 06:37 pm
0
1
Sounds to me
Unpublished

some Georgia fans ( who apparently condone criminal activity from their players) are a little quick on the gun when it comes to one of their opponents. Swearinger is out. At least he wasn't caught with a stolen concealed weapon under his driver's side seat.

itsanotherday1
40338
Points
itsanotherday1 09/17/12 - 06:42 pm
2
1
Consistency?

The only consistency is Spurrier boo-hooing when things don't suit him.

Riverman1
79604
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Riverman1 09/18/12 - 05:06 am
1
2
It was the side of his helmet

It was the side of his helmet that hit the defender's face mask. His own helmet was dramatically knocked off and I think that had a lot to do with them taking it so seriously. It looked dangerous.

But remember a very few years ago such hits were legal. That's such a bang bang play, it's hard for a defender not to hit the receiver sometime who is usually ducking his head right into the hit.

What about a runner who ducks his head to hit a defender in the helmet? That happens all the time and everyone just says look at him bowl over people. Defense just doesn't get a break. There should have not been a suspension. Heck, it wasn't even an SEC opponent. Now when we really need him, he's gone.

my.voice
4654
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my.voice 09/18/12 - 07:00 am
1
2
I think Swearinger got off

I think Swearinger got off light with just one game. That kind of attitude doesn't belong on the field. And personally, I think the defensive coordinator needs to sit out a game or three until he can control his crew.

It was a cheap shot, not a great play, anyone can pick off a man focused on another object, it's as if he's standing still.

justthefacts
20452
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justthefacts 09/18/12 - 07:03 am
2
0
Deserving

Now that I have seen it, I agree with the suspension. River comments, notwithstanding, this was overt.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 09/18/12 - 09:06 am
2
0
River, there is a difference

River, there is a difference between ducking your head to run through a line and what was shown on the video. But you already know that. The latter was intentional and the suspension is justified.

CobaltGeorge
150636
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CobaltGeorge 09/18/12 - 10:11 am
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1
These Comments

sound just like the comments about our Givement.

Both sides rooting for their teams or parties....

Riverman1
79604
Points
Riverman1 09/18/12 - 10:21 am
2
1
Not too many years ago

Not too many years ago everything was fair game as far as hits. Again, who takes up for the defense? They can be slammed helmet to helmet in a blindside block and it's perfectly legal. You can barely touch a QB today in the NFL. A defensive back today aims at the receivers chest and the guy drops his head. Bam...head to head. I just don't get it.

notsurprised
81
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notsurprised 09/18/12 - 08:16 pm
0
0
After playing four years of

After playing four years of division 1 college football in the mid 90's I can honestly say that the game of football has been forever changed. Although it makes sense to protect players from head injuries, the rules that are now in place are not equal across the board. It is not fair treatment to protect a receiver or back from head to head contact, but not protect a backer or d-end from a blindside or crack back block. The real problem here is that the majority of the panel that makes these rules have never seen a down or put a helmet on. Football is a violent sport. A defensive player is taught to take no prisoners and have no mercy. But, where do you draw the line here? Before you know it the game of football will be played with less emotion because some players are being forced to tip toe around because they are worried about the repercussions of playing all out football. The rules need to be fair across the board, period!

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