“Let’s just enforce the rule that’s in place.”

If you’re a Georgia fan, perhaps it’s worth considering the Law of Unintended Consequences as it may apply to the proposed rule change about linemen blocking downfield.

Freeze said shifting the rule from three yards to one would severely limit play-action passing. “If you’re selling the run like you’re supposed to on the front side, that center’s got to come out hard with a low hat,” Freeze said. “If that defensive linemen goes away from him [the center’s] momentum is going to carry him past one yard.”

I don’t know about you, but if the effect of the rule does in fact restrict play-action, that strikes me as a big problem for what is Mark Richt’s bread and butter offensive play.

What may an even bigger problem is how slapdash these major changes seem to be presented to the coaches.

Freeze would also like to throw a flag of his own on the process for changing the rules. Coaches were blindsided by the 10-second rule proposal last year, and were blindsided by this proposal this year. Freeze said a survey conducted while most coaches are heavily involved in the home stretch of recruiting isn’t going to get the most thorough response. “Half of us don’t even see the survey,” Freeze said.

“I never saw a survey,” said Arizona’s Rodriguez, who noted that this proposal has no impact on player safety and doesn’t need to be implemented so quickly.

Judging from the vote tally, they have a point.

In a text message, Calhoun noted that in a survey of FBS coaches conducted last month, only two issues received a majority of support. He said “around 80 percent” of coaches were in favor of expanding instant replay review on onside kicks — and 57% approved of altering the rule on linemen downfield.

Rogers Redding, the NCAA’s coordinator of football officiating and the secretary-rules editor for the football rules committee, said 42% opposed and 1% had no opinion. Sixty-five coaches responded (approximately one-half of the FBS coaches; the actual numbers were 37, 27 and 1).

I love how Calhoun inflates the impact of the vote.  The reality is that his 57% is much less than that, as only a little over half the coaches responded in the survey.  That’s hardly a mandate.

There are a couple of things I’d be interested in learning here.  One, unlike last year when Saban and Bielema stepped up to own the 10-second substitution rule change proposal, we haven’t heard any coach say this year’s change is his baby.  All we’ve heard is that Redding wants the change to make it easier for officials to do their jobs.  If that’s all there is, that strikes me as weak sauce to rush to make what could be a dramatic change and bolsters the case coaches like Freeze and Swinney are making that officials should be instructed to enforce the current rule properly.

As Staples puts it,

But the hurry-up coaches make a valid point. What happens if the rule changes and the officials decide to call it by the letter of the law? Then play-action passes do change dramatically. The game would start to look more like the NFL, which has creativity-stifling rules that make it less fun to watch than the college game. So, why not try a season of simply enforcing the existing rule, and, if the problem persists, make a change? Freeze believes flags for linemen drifting past three yards would cut down on the problem, just as ejections for targeting helped cut down on head shots. “We put a point of emphasis on targeting, and you’ve seen it drastically go down,” Freeze said. “All the coaches started coaching it better.”

Second, I’d be very curious to hear what Mark Richt thinks about all this.  Will the rule change put a serious crimp in what Georgia does, or is this issue being overblown?  Does Richt have an opinion about how the rule is being currently enforced?  (For that matter, I’d like to know if he participated in the survey in the first place.)  Someone in the media, ask the man.  Inquiring minds want to know.

55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

55 responses to ““Let’s just enforce the rule that’s in place.”

  1. The problem is the refs weren’t enforcing the old rule and when they did make that call it was selective enforcement. History teaches us that new rules always are used by SEC refs with an anti-UGA bias to screw the Dawgs. How about enforcing the existing rule instead of messing with the most successful sport in the nation?

    Like

    • Refs, the penultimate definition of a “necessary evil”.

      Foot Stomp Baby!

      Like

      • Gurkha Dawg

        Lrgk9, penultimate means “next to last”. Are you saying refs are the next to last necessary evil? Increase your word power!

        Like

    • Uglydawg

      If they want to make the game fair, find a way to make the refs fair.
      I’ve proposed before that each coach in the SEC have the right to banish a particular ref or crew from officiating their next ten games (after a Wagers type of screwing). If a crew or ref is banished by more than three or more coachs in a season, he’s fired. If he’s banished by more than five coaches in a three year period, he’s fired.
      Maybe include a formula for having too many calls overturned.
      Officials need to be held accountable. When a coach works his butt off recruiting, coaching, running a program, watching film, preparing…and the players work their butts off doing all they do, it’s a sorry, sorry thing when a jerk with an agenda screws that team and it’s fanbase out of what they’ve earned and worked for, with a crooked and dishonest call on the field. Throwing a flag at just the right time can destroy a teams whole destiny (See P. Wagers vs AJ Green vs. LSU 2009. Or see “Penn Wagers is Real and He’s Ridiculous”…GTP Nov. 17 2013).
      I believe almost every official is honest and occasionally makes mistakes. But for the “ridiculous” assholes, there should be reprecussions.

      Like

      • Scott

        Penn Wagers is indeed terrible…but it wasn’t his crew that threw the flag against AJ in 2009. That was Marc Curles, whose crew was so terrible they actually had to sit out for a while toward the end of that season.

        But…Penn Wagers is the worst. Not just that he makes horrible calls (and I don’t know if he hates us or not…I’ve seen him make shitty calls against just about every team in the SEC), but that his crew is incompetent. Seems like every game I watch him referee, there are multiple times when his crew is having 5 minute conversations and nobody can figure out what it is they are talking about. He’s the worst.

        Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      SEC refs do not have a bias against UGA. Period. Wagers is the only one you can point to that harbors some sort of friction against us, but that’s due to his personal gripes with CMR dating back to the infamous ’07 UF game.

      Its human nature to remember all the calls that went against us, while quickly forgetting the ones that went in our favor. From my vantage point, sans a Wagers’ led crew, its a 50/50 split in terms of bad calls hurting or favoring us going back quite a few years. Oh yea, don’t forget that our penchant for undisciplined play also seems to have skewed things in the eyes of a typical UGA fan.

      Like

      • Mayor

        3rdie, there’s the ongoing Tech problem with SEC game officials. Curles is one ref from Tech who has been a problem but there are other refs who went to Tech and still others who are BJs, SJs, etc.

        Like

    • Otto

      Generally rules like this are enforced strictly for 1 year and then selective.

      How many horse collar tackles were called this past year?

      Like

      • Mayor

        Same with targeting, Otto. Last year I saw many direct hits to QBs’ and receivers’ heads that went uncalled.

        Like

      • Gurkha Dawg

        Real horse collar tackles are usually called. They are extremely dangerous and often result in season ending injuries. DGD Musa Smith suffered a broken leg while playing in the NFL from a horse collar.

        Like

  2. While I don’t know if this rule change is needed or not, it’s down on the list of what needs to change in the college game. Holding, offensive pass interference, “outside the tackle box,” and rugby-style punting would be on my list of changes to see before this.

    1) Holding – enforce the rules – holding is legal as long as it’s in front and between the shoulder pads in an official’s mind. No, it’s not. The rule is you can use your hands but not to lock on to the defensive player.
    2) Offensive pass interference – the pushing off by receivers downfield has now gotten ridiculous to the point where any contact is called against the defense. The “rub” routes aren’t called OPI unless it’s absolutely blatant (see FSU/ND). Change the impact of the penalty to 15 yards and loss of down (make it the equivalent of a sack).
    3) Outside the tackle box – I know people say it’s a player safety thing, but I don’t like the rule. It doesn’t reward good defense. All it does is give a QB an out to throw the ball away without risking a turnover or a penalty.
    4) Rugby-style punting – The punter should become fair game when he steps outside of the box and looks like he is going to run with the ball. No protection for kicking the ball in this style. It brings back the punt block and the return, which are 2 of the most electrifying plays in the game.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      ee..Those are great suggestions and you are right on the money. I’d also add easing up on unsportsmanlike penalty calls made tackling a runner on the sideline. It needs to be called if the hit comes after the runner is actually OOB, but if he’s one inch in bounds he should be fair game. It’ s gotten ridiculous. Notice that tackling done after a tochdown (the runner clears the goaline and the tackle occurs 7 or 8 yards deep in the endzone) isn’t called.

      Like

      • The sideline call almost impossible. It is entirely in control of the runner. If you see a guy bearing down at a particular angle that you know can’t stop, you just step out earlier and take the hit further out of bounds. The defensive player has to assume the runner is going to try and stay in bounds. The runner can easily take advantage of this. I’d be surprised if offensive coaches aren’t actively coaching this.

        Like

      • Those Clem’s Son’s guys still couldn’t take Gurley down after he ran 105 yards with that kick return and then when he took that toss 50 yards. A full grown man I must say. All told, I completely agree with you on the tackling in the end zone. It’s almost like the defensive guy is saying, “I don’t want to give you a chance to celebrate with your teammates after you took one to the house.”

        Like

    • paul

      “[H]olding is legal as long as it’s in front and between the shoulder pads in an official’s mind. No, it’s not.” Actually, yes, yes it is. SEC officials made this crystal clear before the season when they said very publicly that holding is legal as long as it’s in front and between the shoulder pads. They even went so far as to provide a demonstration as I recall. It’s not what we grew up with, but it is what it is now. Blew my mind when I saw it but you can look it up.

      Like

      • I had forgotten that, Paul. I thought it was a change the SEC officials put in, so they had an excuse for as many times as they don’t call it. My problem with it is that it’s not called consistently. I do not like the ability to lock on to the defender, but it is what it is. 🙂

        Like

    • Otto

      For the most part agreed especially on 3 and 4. I hate the outside the tackle box rule. Also agreed with Uglydawg, the OOB hits are a bit overly strict and has been on QBs for a decade plus.

      Like

  3. TnTom

    They want to make it “easier” for the refs to call. Change it to 10yds downfield.

    Like

  4. mp

    Unless my eyes lie (they often do), I don’t see a lot of OL’s venturing over a yard down field on Georgia’s play-action passes. I think this is a bit of a red herring the spread coaches are throwing out there to try to make it seem like it would affect more than just them.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      Yep..Gus and the gimmicky guys are touting a red herring fo’ sho’. It would hurt their offenses a good bit.

      Like

      • siskey

        Yes. The only way that a PA pass would fall into this would be one that had 7+ seconds to develop. A pass that takes that long to develop has lost the “surprise” element and is probably less effective than the coaches would like. Maybe on those really wide open, David Greene, Marlon Brown vs Ole Miss in 2012, plays this would be a factor for us but 99% of the time the center’s position on the field would not matter. Total bs argument by Freeze because he rightfully doesn’t want to have to run an offense against Alabama, LSU and Auburn that relies on talent instead of taking advantage of how this rule has been interpreted.

        Like

  5. James Stephenson

    Did they just say the NFL was not as much fun to watch? The biggest sport in the USA, bigger than College Football. Was less fun to watch?

    Like

  6. Uglydawg

    The NFL is not more popular than NCAA football. If you had over 100 pro teams playing up to 13 times per season, in every nook and cranny in America, how big would your crowds be?
    Pro football is limited in quantity…necessarily so. If they could expand and still fill stadiums, they’d do it.
    Take a saturday afternoon in Georgia….UGA almost 100 K in the stadium, Auburn…same….Alabama…same (of course this would be a case when all these teams played at home on the same saturday…but it happens I guess), Clemson….same…South Carolina…same…That’s a lot of people in one region (Falcon’s region) watching college football. You ain’t have that with pro ball.

    Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Based on tv sets/ratings based in ‘every nook and cranny in America,’ NFL is far more popular than CFB. I mean, there’s no real debate about it, and when you get outside the deep south, you quickly discover just how much more popular the NFL is.

      With that said, CFB growth has been astounding in recent years, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see CFB become the #2 most popular sport overall soon.

      Like

      • Uglydawg

        3rd..When the Falcons play the Titens or the Panthers or the Saints…they’ll fill up the stadiium and a lot of people will watch. It’s the biggest (and onlyest) game around. When you fill up the college stadiums and still have millions watching…that is impressive. As I said, make over 100 pro teams and see how much support you get. BTW. There IS a debate. What do you see more of…honestly….College promotional stuff, or Pro football prom. stuff? How many people walk around with Falcons stuff on compared to UGA,,GT, etc? On sunday, if I want to watch anything on tv..it’s going to be the Falcons…IF it’s sold out and therefore not blacked out.

        Like

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Again, you’re looking at it from a southern prism, such as your Falcons and Saints references. Step outside the deep south and you’ll quickly see how much more popular the NFL is. This is why the NFL tv contract is many times greater than CFB ones and so forth. I travel approx. 90 nights a year on business all over the country. And whether I’m in an airport bar in San Diego, handing with buddies from Dallas or SLC, or some rural outpost in Whitefish, Montana (awesome place, btw), NFL is far more popular.

          Heck, even here in quasi south central Virginia, NFL easily trumps CFB. Hardly anyone here cares about CFB, other than a smattering of hardcore VT fans (which are very casual by SEC standards). As someone who doesn’t watch the NFL and generally finds it stiff/boring, I wish this weren’t the case, but it is what it is.

          Like

      • Cojones

        Mind telling us-who-read-and-discern-differently where you got those figures? TV sets and ratings that I know of say differently. CFB is second only to soccer in the world.

        Like

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Sure. I’ll give you just one. The Harris poll, the preeminent pollster regarding sports popularity, which also is prominently noted in regard to tv contracts, commercial pricing, and the like. For 2014, they named the NFL the most popular sport in America for the 30th straight year. For ’14, 35% of Americans listed the NFL as their favorite sport, followed by MLB (14%) and CFB (11%). Other sources, such as Neilsen ratings, show the same.

          If you can somehow prove that CFB is indeed more popular, than executives all over the U.S. have combined to make an egregious mistake in the tens of billions of dollars, in which case you should immediately be hired as a consultant commanding an 8 figure annual salary.

          Like

          • 3rdandGrantham

            BTW, I find it quite ironic how so many of us (rightfully) complain that CFB has lost its soul, is becoming too corporate like the NFL, and has attracted too many jersey wearing, NFL loving, bandwagon fans that have no clue about history or tradition….yet we then turn around and passionately attempt to argue that CFB is just as popular as the NFL. Makes absolutely no sense.

            What makes (or used to make) CFB so special is that its not the most popular sport. Not even close historically. Instead, its our own little niche, and we love the fact that those living in LA, NYC, Chicago, and pretty much anywhere outside of the deep south just don’t get it. We used to say (laughingly): go watch your MLB or NFL team…we’ll stick with a far more entertaining product, thank you very much. Yet now we’re trying to include all those “other fans” under the growing umbrella while desperately trying to hold on to what makes CFB so unique and special.

            Again, makes absolutely zero sense, and I suspect CFB fans don’t realize what exactly they’re arguing for/against.

            Like

      • Macallanlover

        Ratings are pure numbers, has nothing to do with the product. As stated above, the NFL is a northeast and big city product essentially so they will have the most sets on. No one can deny the success of the NFL from a monetary standpoint, that is not usually the best judge of quality. We have a lot of humans with bad taste, or that make bad decisions…. there seem to be an increasing number of examples daily. Nothing wrong with NFL football, it is still better than basketball, hockey, soccer, etc. More sets worldwide are tuned into soccer than CFB too, but the product is not even in the stratosphere of CFB, imo. Look at the population from Philadelphia to Boston and find a CFB program that is capable of exciting the masses.

        Like

        • 3rdandGrantham

          You’re preaching to the converted regarding quality, and that’s not the argument I’m debating above. I wholeheartedly agree that CFB is vastly more entertaining, but I also am not totally blinded by ideology when it comes to overall popularity of each sport.

          Heck, I’m not much of a fan of MLB either, but in most of the country, it too trumps CFB.

          Like

          • Macallanlover

            And I am not arguing that point, I concede the numbers game because of the population dense areas, specifically the Northeast. Take a look at Atlanta, inside the beltway it is Falcon dominated…very little love for UGA. In the suburbs, it is more UGA with the Falcons leading the NFL fan groups, but I doubt they are even the majority of pro fans. So many transplants from other big cities with NFL franchises, I bet they are collectively larger than Falcon fans in the ‘burbs (Packers, Cowboys, Giants, Skins, Dolphins, Bears, etc.) I know few people who even attend Falcon games, but I see a lot of Falcon apparel when I am near downtown….which is, granted, pretty rare.

            Like

      • PTC DAWG

        This is spot on..

        Like

  7. 69Dawg

    Ok the Spread guys are trying to say that the Pro-Style teams will be hurt too. It seems to me that the Pros have the 1 yard rule and they play action all the time. I didn’t even know the 3 yard rule was in existence until it got called on us. I had always assumed it to be 1 yard. No wonder the refs don’t call it except against UGA. The Pros run a lot of play action with the 1 yard rule so it must be possible. The offensive lineman might drift down field if the QB scrambles but a Pro style offense will not go down field nearly as much as a spread option team. I swear those guys always look like they are blocking the deep safety on the third option even if it’s a pass.

    Like

  8. Joe Schmoe

    Who it is going to hurt (spread vs. pro) is irrelevant. My question is what issue is this trying to address? I haven’t seen any compelling argument for changing the rule other than it would make it easier for the refs to officiate. That argument is a terrible reason to change a rule that could potentially have a major impact on the game (the game after all is not about the officials – or shouldn’t be at least). I actually don’t buy that argument anyway. The problem for college football officials is the massive number of rules that they are trying to observe adherence to at any given moment. Having to monitor a 1-yard rule (which would be broken a hell of a lot more) would distract them from calling more important rules like holding (which as noted above is hardly ever called at this point).

    Like

    • James Stephenson

      The issue is having big offensive linemen running downhill to block guys that should not even be blocked by linemen on pass plays. It gives an unfair advantage to the Offense. Since the look is not only a running play, which is fine, but then that O-Linemen fires out to hit guys they are not supposed to hit. If the pros can live with the 1 yard rule, so can college. Except i think in the pros, when they do that little pop pass on options, they probably call it in the huddle to insure the linemen do not get down the field.

      Like

  9. I commented yesterday that I think consistent enforcement of the current rule would solve most of the issues, so count me in the camp that favors not changing the rule. But again, “consistent enforcement” of anything seems to be rare with college football officials. I honestly think moving it to 1 yard would only exacerbate the issue of consistent enforcement though, some refs would call ticky tack calls like if the OL loses his balance and falls past the 1 yard mark, whereas others would give more leeway. Unfortunately, the only way to somewhat insure consistency would be to make it something that can be challenged (either way). It would be pretty easy to review, at the time the ball was thrown the OL either was or wasn’t past the mark. But I don’t think any of us want more stoppages, plus the slippery slope of starting to be able to challenge penalties.

    While I do think the rules have swung too far in favor of the offense, I do like having rules that allow for more creativity than the pro game. So I say make enforcement of the current rule a priority for a season or two, then re-evaluate.

    Like

  10. Dawg Stephen

    Lets not forget the ’01 Auburn game.. when Tim Wansley was called for “roughing the kicker”… to which he told referee Doyle Jackson.. “I tipped it”… and the ref replied.. “I know you tipped the punt”… and then marched off the penalty…. hows that for interpreting the rules??

    Like

  11. ASEF

    I’m fine with it as a point if emphasis if the refs are willing to call Hugh and Gus for it 100 times. Otherwise, its the same “do it every play and we’ll get away with it 90% of the time” crap we have now.

    The “it would kill the play action” nonsense is proven nonsense by the NFL, which uses play action and Pop passes despite the 1 yard prohibition.

    Shut up, Hugh. You sound like a high school coach.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Too pooped to stop pop | Get The Picture