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7/28/2006 11:22:00 AM
Change, Change, Change
USC coach Pete Carroll was not smiling when he heard about the new rule changes in college football this season.
As coaches chomped away at their plates of chicken parmigiana and salad after Pac-10 media day, it didn’t take much to ruin their appetite. All it took were three hyphenated numbers and a letter, or more specifically, NCAA Rule 3-2-5-e, which is the new rule that states that the game clock will begin as soon as an official marks the ball ready for play after a change of possession.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. “It’s the most dramatic rule change that I can remember and I have yet to find someone who likes it. It will change the football game significantly, more than people think. It’s going to limit and shorten the game which I don’t think needs to be done and it takes away your opportunities at the end of the game to get as many plays in and comeback if you’re behind. Nobody will claim responsibility for wanting to change the rules and shorten the game – not TV, not the coaches, not the administrators – so it’s one of those mystery deals I guess.”
Before the rule change, the clock wouldn’t start until the ball was snapped after a kickoff or interception. Now, offensive units will have to rush onto the field near the end of the half or the game as the clock will start as soon as the ball is put in play by the official. Coaches fear those precious few seconds lost during the ball being put down by the official to the ball being snapped to the quarterback will make it virtually impossible to throw up a ‘Hail Mary’ pass if they get the ball back with less than four seconds.
“We’re still not sure when they’re going to start the clock,” said Washington State coach Bill Doba. “Are they going to wait until both teams are on the field and ready to go, or can one team take their time and let the clock run? So you’re really at the mercy of the officials now. It will certainly affect our two-minute drill. I don’t like the rule. They’re trying to shorten the game and I ask, ‘Why?’ I don’t get it.”
Another rule change the coaches were against was the new video replay rule which says a coach can challenge one play per game and if they are wrong they are docked a timeout. “The coaches’ challenge doesn’t help us because we have no video replay units up in the booth,” said Bellotti, noting that video monitors in the booth are not allowed in college as they are in the NFL. “So it’s the same thing you and I see on the field and I don’t think that’s worth a timeout…As a coach, I’m appalled by the rule changes. It will change the game as we know it. It changes a lot of strategies. And I can’t find anyone who likes these rules. I hope they are overturned next year.”
The final rule change that had the coaches up in arms was the new kickoff rule which says the clock will start when the kicker’s foot touches the ball, not when the returning team touches the ball. “If you got a kid who can kick it out of the end zone and you’re ahead with four seconds to go, the game’s over,” says Doba. “If they start the clock when you kick the ball, you won’t have a chance to touch the ball.”
Besides disliking the rule changes, the coaches were still confused at how and why the rules were passed to shorten the game. Many argued that if there was one sport where fans wouldn’t mind having an extra few minutes of game time, it would be college football; where fans tailgate and party for days and plan year-round for the handful of home games they will attend.
“I don’t like the rules. I think it’s a joke,” said Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter. “College football is an all day event. Fans wait all year for our game. Who said we were trying to shorten the game? Who came out with this national statement saying that we’re trying to make college football like the NFL? We’re not the NFL. We’re college football. This game has worked fine for over 100 years and now they are making major rule changes that affects 18-percent of all plays. I don’t get it and I don’t like it.”
Other coaches brought up the fact that the shortening of the game will also affect records, since offensive players won’t get as many touches as their predecessors. “The records are going to different now that the clock is shorter,” said USC coach Pete Carroll. “There are going to be less plays and you won’t have as many chances to throw the ball. If we threw the ball an average of 38 times a game, that number might be 32 times this year. That’s six passes, or 50 passes a year and stuff like that can start to effect records. Everything will start to be asterisked. Is it astristicked? Asterisked? Whatever, it’s a sad situation.”
College football certainly has its share of problems - these subtle changes will make games shorter but the sport will likely not improve. The rules themselves are not that bad (except the OT nonsense) How about cutting down on the Heisman hype? Eliminating coaches polls? Getting rid of silly bowls? Making these guys attend a class once in a while? Installing a freaking playoff??? Trimming a half hour of TV time is not going to make me watch more of this stuff.
Absolutely stupid changes. The idiot who came up with these new rules probably never even played the game.
If you REALLY want to "shorten" game times, then reduce the number of tv timeouts. Worried about losing the almighty $$$ with fewer commercials? Then jack up the rate for those fewer commercials. That whole "supply & demand" thing, you know?
in college football, it used to be if you had a star running back you could run around everyone, so that's what you did. Then teams started passing because they could get more offense in. Now, teams will go back to running a lot more, because the risk/reward for passing has a lot less reward now. Also, forget about any memorable 2 minute drills. With this rule, Flutie, McMahon, and Kordell Stewart never would have been heroes
So the coaches don't like the rules? Several of them help WRITE the rules.
2006 NCAA Football Rules Committee
Division I-A * Frank Beamer, Head Coach, Virginia Tech * Keith Gill, Associate Athletic Director, Oklahoma * Bill Moos, Athletic Director, Oregon * Tommy Tuberville, Head Coach, Auburn
Division I-AA * Danny Hope, Head Coach, Eastern Kentucky * Oliver Pough, Head Coach and Athletic Director, South Carolina St.
Division II * Charles Broyles (Committee Chair), Head Coach and Athletic Director, Pittsburg (Kan.) St. * Kenneth Sparks, Head Coach, Carson-Newman (Tenn.) * Jerry Vandergriff, Director of Athletic Development, Angelo (Tex.) St.
Division III * Mike Clark, Head Coach, Bridgewater (Va.) * Eric Hamilton, Head Coach, The College of New Jersey * Michael Storey, Associate Athletic Director, Bridgewater State (Mass.)
Secretary-Rules Editor * John Adams, Western Athletic Conference