The game of football continues to make strives in the area of player safety, something all levels of the sport have been adamant about for over a decade now.

During SEC Media Days, SEC Director of Officials Steve Shaw took the podium to outline some of the rule changes to improve player safety. In 2019, there will be a primary focus on blindside blocks and targeting calls. The goal is to decrease the number of head and neck injuries.

Shaw defined a blindside block during his time in Hoover, calling it an open field block against an opponent that is initiated from outside the opponent’s field of vision, or otherwise in such a manner that the opponent cannot reasonably defend himself against the block.

According to the new rule, no player shall deliver a blindside block by attacking an opponent with forcible contact. This penalty would be a 15-yard infraction and could potentially be called as targeting, if it meets all the elements.

The new rule is also in conjunction with new targeting rule practices that will take effect this year. Officials will review all elements of a potential targeting call, and the penalty must either be confirmed or denied view replay. There will not be a “call stands” option. If a player is penalized three times for targeting in a season, he will face a one-game suspension, as well.