TE claims refs 'targeted him'

Updated: November 8, 2003, 6:57 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Miami tight end Kellen Winslow lashed out at Southeastern Conference officials Saturday, saying they targeted him during Tennessee's 10-6 win over the Hurricanes.

Winslow caught seven passes for 88 yards but had a costly 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter.

Winslow said his helmet was ripped off on the 22-yard reception, but said he was penalized for taking off his helmet.

"I hate refs," Winslow said, his voice raised in the locker room. "They were looking at me the whole time. I can't even get hyped up after a play. I can't even get my crowd hyped up."

Winslow has been penalized several times this season for taunting opponents, including one last week against Virginia Tech.

"I talked to our team during the week and talked to them before the game," coach Larry Coker said. "I told them this was an SEC crew and they are strong in calling celebration penalties and will call it."

Miami finished with 12 penalties for 121 yards.

Winslow's penalty cost the Hurricanes significant field position in the fourth quarter while trying to take the lead. They overcame Winslow's mistake, but the drive ended when Brock Berlin was sacked and fumbled.

Berlin also threw two interceptions. He has 14 interceptions and three fumbles this season.

Winslow said the Hurricanes need to make changes on offense, but he stopped short of calling for a new quarterback.

"It's up to the head man," Winslow said. "He'll do the right thing."

Winslow refused to comment on whether the Hurricanes had lost faith in Berlin.

Winslow has 51 catches for 527 yards this season, but has spent much of the season calling for the ball more often - especially near the end zone. He has just one touchdown.

The son of NFL Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Sr., the younger Winslow made several big plays against the Volunteers, including a 21-yard catch on third-and-20 in the third quarter. But he also fumbled once, dropped a pass in the end zone and had the penalty.

He recovered his third-quarter fumble, but the Hurricanes were forced to punt. Trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, Miami had a chance to tie the game on the final play of the half, but Winslow dropped Berlin's deep pass in the end zone.

He took some of his frustration out on the Vols with a hard-hitting block that knocked Corey Campbell to the ground and briefly out of the game.

Winslow nearly got flagged for standing over and taunting a shaken Campbell.

"It's war," Winslow said. "They're out there to kill you, so I'm out there to kill them. We don't care about anybody but this U. They're going after my legs. I'm going to come right back at them. I'm a ... soldier."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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