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October 26, 2009TUSCALOOSA _ The Southeastern Conference publicly reprimanded Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin for comments he made Sunday about the officiating during the Alabama game.
"Coach Kiffin has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics," Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. "SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from all public criticism of officials.
"This is the second reprimand for Coach Kiffin in this calendar year. Coach Kiffin is on notice that for any further violations of SEC policies will subject him to additional penalties including suspension."
The first reprimand came after Kiffin openly accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of recruiting violations.
Kiffin was perplexed at the number of calls against the Volunteers on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and echoed that again Sunday when asked about not trying to get closer for the final field-goal attempt, which was blocked.
"I just had a feeling at that point in the game, to run another play," he told reporters in Knoxville. "We had a yard line we wanted to get to, and we were five yards inside of where we can kick from. You run another play and (maybe) throw an interception or they throw another flag on us.
"I wasn't going to let the refs lose the game for us there and some magical flag appear. We put ourselves in a position to win. At that point, we're nine penalties to one. We're the second-least penalized team in the country going in. They're 60th in the country, and you go down there and it's very disappointing to have nine flags thrown at you and one at them. That's very hard to deal with."
Kiffin also complained about senior nose tackle Terrence Cody throwing his helmet in celebration.
"To me, the rule is this: If a play's still going, you can't take your helmet off. I've left a message for (SEC coordinator of officiating) Rogers (Redding). He hasn't returned my call," Kiffin said. "I talked to the commissioner today. The play's still going. The ball's still sitting there. It's live. If Luke (Stocker) sees the ball, he can pick it up and go score a touchdown to win the game.
"The guy throws his helmet as the ball's still live. He throws his helmet and then two of their guys go and recover the ball. It's a 15-yard penalty and you kick again. I'm sure we'll get one of those letters that really means nothing, as (Arkansas coach) Bobby (Petrino) got last week. But Florida and Alabama live on."
However, SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom had already issued a statement that it wasn't a penalty: "The foul for taking helmet off is a live ball foul treated as a dead-ball foul. That is, if it happens on a play where time does not expire then the penalty is enforced on the following play. However, since the clock ran out on that play, then there is no next play so there is no penalty to mark off."
Later Monday, Mississippi State coach Dan Millen was also reprimanded for saying the replay official who worked the Bulldogs' game against Florida should be disciplined for not overturning an interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter by Gators linebacker Dustin Doe, who might have fumbled before reaching the goal line.
Players of the week
Senior kicker Leigh Tiffin has been named the SEC special teams player of the week, with Cody the defensive lineman of the week.
Tiffin made four field goals to score all of Alabama's points in the 12-10 victory against Tennessee, from 38, 50, 22 and 49 yards. He leads the SEC in overall field goal percentage (87.0 percent, 20 of 23) and scoring (10 points per game).
Cody blocked two field goals and made two tackles in the game. For the season, Cody has 17 total tackles, including five behind the line of scrimmage.
Senior cornerback Javier Arenas, who had 13 tackles including 3.5 for a loss and a sack, was honorable mention for defensive player of the week.
The Alabama coaching staff recognized five players, including junior left tackle James Carpenter and sophomore receiver Julio Jones on offense, Arenas on defense, and Cody and Tiffin on special teams.
Despite some confusion on the SEC website, LSU at Alabama on Nov. 7 has been scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff and will be shown on CBS. The other games that Saturday will be Memphis at Tennessee (6 p.m., ESPNU), Vanderbilt at Florida (6:15 p.m., ESPN or EPSN2), Northern Arizona at Ole Miss (6:15 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2). Tennessee Tech at Georgia, Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky, and Furman at Auburn will all be pay-per-view.
Davey O'Brien semifinalists
Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award announced its semifinalists, and only one SEC quarterback made the list, Florida's Tim Tebow.
The other semifinalists are Matt Barkley, Southern California; Daryll Clark, Penn State; Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; Jacory Harris, Miami; Case Keenum, Houston; Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; Jake Locker, Washington; Colt McCoy, Texas; Kellen Moore, Boise State; Tony Pike, Cincinnati; Todd Reesing, Kansas; Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State, Ricky Stanzi, Iowa; and Bill Stull, Pittsburgh.