GUILBEAU: Muschamp admits he was nervous

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is a Southeastern Conference veteran, but he said he felt like a true freshman during Auburn's 7-3 victory over LSU last week.

"I was pretty nervous," said Muschamp, who was LSU's defensive coordinator from 2002 through 2004. "My heart was in my throat."

 

He was talking about the last play of the game when LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell dropped back and found Craig Davis inside the 5-yard line, but defensive back Eric Brock stopped him at the 4. He did just what Muschamp said.

 

"Guard the end zone with my life," Brock said Muschamp told him. "It was an unbelievable feeling. We've worked so hard, and here they are with a last drive to win it."

 

Brock also made the key tip – or deflection to use the SEC's words - of a Russell pass to Early Doucet at the Auburn 6-yard line on LSU's previous drive. Muschamp's heart skipped a beat on this play as well as back judge Mike New threw a flag for apparent pass interference against Auburn's Zach Gilbert. Then the flag was picked up when field judge Dan Moore told New and referee Jeff Roberson that the ball was deflected by Brock, which means contact is allowed.

 

Upon further review, first-year SEC coordinator of football officials Rogers Redding behaved like a true freshman. He changed his story in reference to the flag pick-up.

 

"If the contact takes place after the ball is tipped, there is no foul," Redding told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution while at the Florida-Tennessee game Saturday night. "If the contact takes place before the ball is tipped, there is a foul. If it happens at the same time, it is a judgment call."

 

On Monday, Redding said there was contact before the ball was deflected, but that deflection made the pass not catchable, so there was no pass interference.

 

"It was not a catchable ball, so it really doesn't matter when the contact took place," Redding told the Gannett Louisiana News Service. "There was contact before the deflection, but it was not a catchable ball. It wasn't a tip. That's important. It was more of a deflection. He (Brock) dove and deflected it away."

 

Redding quoted Article 9-c of the NCAA football rule book that says, "Defensive players legally may contact opponents who have crossed the neutral zone if the opponents are not in a position to receive a catchable forward pass."

 

On Saturday, he quoted Article 9-b that says, "Players of either team legally may interfere beyond the neutral zone after the pass has been touched."

 

Replays have shown the contact on Doucet by Gilbert before the deflection, or tip.

"But the pass was not catchable," Redding said.

 

Asked if the ball might have been catchable had Doucet had more free movement, Redding said, "On this specific play, no."

 

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said on Saturday after the game that even if LSU had gotten the call, that doesn't mean it would have scored.

 

"They still had to get the ball in the end zone," he said.

 

In the end, Redding made the biggest mistake. He should have admitted his crew made a mistake. Instead, he changed his story. Former SEC coordinator of officials Bobby Gaston admitted mistakes in the past.

 

For example, do you remember the LSU-Alabama game in 2004?

 

The following is an e-mail from a long time Alabama follower in light of LSU fans complaining about the no-call at Auburn:

 

"You guys quit fussin' about a pass interference call. Do you remember Tiger Stadium, 2004? Ain't life just great?"

 

Isn't Alabama supposed to hate Auburn more than LSU?

 

The e-mailer is referencing Alabama leading LSU 10-6 in the third quarter in 2004 in Tiger Stadium and facing a third-and-seven at the LSU 9-yard line. Then LSU cornerback Corey Webster intercepted Alabama quarterback Spencer Pennington in the end zone after knocking Alabama receiver Keith Brown to the ground. Webster returned the ball 44 yards, and LSU went on to a 26-10 win.

 

Gaston later admitted the league's mistake.

 

"Let's just report it as I'd rather it have been called," Gaston said at the time.

 

Or did the official make the right call? It was a non-catchable ball since Brown was on the ground, right?

 

 

HAPPIEST AUBURN TIGER: It has to be kicker John Vaughn, who lost the LSU game last year by missing 5-of-6 field goals. Had LSU scored on its last possession and won 10-7 this year, Vaughn would be the culprit again as he missed a field goal again off the left upright.

 

"I attacked the kick a little too aggressively," Vaughn said. "Everybody kind of laughed at me and told me to calm down."

 

Vaughn was near tears after the game.

 

"I told him you never have to play LSU again," Auburn punter Kody Bliss said, kicker to kicker. "Get over it."

 

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Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com  or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and occasionally USA Today. You can contact him at gguilbeau@gannett.com.


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