TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher isn't against trying to protect players, but he would like to see a call like the personal foul against CB Greg Reid that nullified a game-changing play against Maryland be reviewed.
Reid came in shoulder-first and leveled RB Da'Rel Scott as Scott was trying to make a catch out in the flat. CB Michael Harris intercepted and returned it for an apparent touchdown. But officials, in keeping with a point of emphasis about hits above the shoulder (or even on a hit that looks to be targeting the head), threw a flag. Maryland scored moments later to tie the score.
"I don't think it was a penalty," Fisher said Monday afternoon. "It was his shoulder, engaging in the shoulder and then working up, which is a clean hit. He's making a play on the ball."
He added he was upset a hit "twice as blatant" on his receiver, Rodney Smith, later in the game wasn't called, but that's football and he understands how an official can make a mistake.
"If you get hit, his head's going to snap," he said. "You push a guy and his head snaps. So review it. I think they ought to be reviewable (plays). You could see where the hit is, what goes on. It would take some pressure off of them."
Reid was later involved in a play that was reviewed — an interception he came up with that looked as if the ball had hit the ground first but the call was upheld and went FSU's way.
"We scored a touchdown (on the former play); I would have swapped them, I promise you," Fisher said jokingly.
What he wants is consistency.
"I know they don't do it on purpose … but it affects our livelihood, it affects futures, it affects kids' lives, it affects championships, it affects schools," he said. "I'm accountable. Kids are accountable. … Anything that would enhance that (consistency) I'm for. They've got a tough job. … But now that we have replay … we can help them, and I think it should be part of it because the ultimate thing is to get things right."
Injury update: WR Willie Haulstead (concussion), who sat out the Maryland game, was at practice Monday, and Fisher hopes he can play Saturday against Florida. RB Jermaine Thomas (right knee) is likely to miss his second straight game.
Award talk: Senior G Rodney Hudson is one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the nation's best interior lineman. The others are Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi and Colorado's Nate Solder. The winner will be announced Dec. 9. … QB Christian Ponder is one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The others are TCU's Andy Dalton, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien. The winner will receive the award Dec. 10. … S Nick Moody, who had a career-high 13 tackles and returned an interception 96 yards (fourth longest in school history) to seal the win against Maryland, was named the ACC's co-defensive back of the week.
UF TALK: Fisher said the unranked Gators, who visit Saturday, are "still a very, very talented football team." But UF doesn't have Tim Tebow. "Tim was one of the great players in college football history," Fisher said. "Not only for his physical play, but the impact he had on his teammates."
USF: Confused offense
TAMPA — Part of the problem in USF's troubled final drive in Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh was a communication error on the next to last play, with players unsure if the Bulls were spiking the ball to stop the clock.
"A couple of guys were on the wrong page with the signal, what they thought they saw and what was called," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said Sunday night. "That's why it looked stupid, to be honest with you. It was more of a communication from the sideline to the field. A couple of guys saw one signal, couple of guys saw another signal."
Needing a touchdown to tie in the final minute, USF's final five plays netted 10 yards, including a 2-yard loss on a screen play with 20 seconds left. On first down from the USF 49, Bulls RB Demetris Murray and WR Faron Hornes — two of five receivers on the play — did not take off on the snap, and Hornes even signaled that he expected a spike to stop the clock.
Rather than throw the ball away, QB B.J. Daniels threw to Hornes, who was dropped for a loss, forcing USF to use its final timeout with seven seconds left. Daniels' last pass was intercepted at the 20 as time expired.
Fitch said the decisions made in the final drive — taking a sack, WR Dontavia Bogan not getting out of bounds, only short passes — were unfortunate, but USF has handled other two-minute drills better.
"That's learning; we've scored on one or two of those this year," he said. "That one, we just didn't have enough production."
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
UCF: A C-USA honor
ORLANDO — UCF sophomore Quincy McDuffie earned Conference USA special teams player of the week for his performance during a 61-14 win at Tulane.
McDuffie returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, his second return for a score this season and third of his career, tying for second most in C-USA history.
TV UPDATE: Saturday's game at Memphis will not be televised in the Tampa Bay area. It will be on BHSN in the Orlando area.
Title game tickets: If UCF beats Memphis, the Knights will host the C-USA title game, scheduled for noon Dec. 4. Title game tickets cost $30 and $40; students will be admitted free first-come, first-served. For information, call the UCF ticket office, (407) 823-1000 or go to ucfathletics.com.