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.