Mark Richt wouldn’t have a problem if kickoffs were abolished tomorrow. But Kirk Olivadotti would.
“At the end of the day, shoot, it’s out of my pay grade, whatever they tell us to do we’ll do,” Olivadotti said. “But it’s an exciting play, it’s a play that I know there’s guys that started their playing career at Georgia. Or shoot, in the NFL, there’s guys that played for me for seven years making a million a year and they covered kickoffs and punts. That’s what they did. So guys make a living off doing that stuff too, so that might be where having a kickoff team is important.
“So that’s where I’d lean personally. I do understand the injury aspect. You’re never gonna eliminate injuries. But you want to limit them as much as you can.”
That is… interesting. He’s got a point that there are plenty of student-athletes on a college roster who only see the field because of special teams play. But safety concerns are legitimate.
When Georgia recruit Tramel Terry was tore his ACL in the Shrine Bowl on Saturday, the reaction in many quarters was to say it was another reason for these players not to participate in All-Star Games. That’s a valid debate to have, but here’s another part of it:
Terry was injured on the opening kickoff. The kickoff remains the play with the most instances of injury, which is why both the NFL and college football have taken steps to minimize the play.
So maybe you split the baby. If you eliminate kickoffs, do you need 85 players on scholarship? Maybe if some of those kids go elsewhere, they’ll have a better chance to play. And play more safely.