Due to the effect of the LSU loss on January 9th, I have tried to stay away from as much college football news over the last two months as possible. Like many of you, I needed a vacation from the sport to clear my head and get ready for the new season. Well, it is time to get back to work, last week LSU began spring practice. Finally, putting a cap on last year, and allowing us to look ahead toward the new season. In between those two events some new came out about college football that I did not discuss, so lets get to it.
New Kickoff Rule
The NCAA is trying to follow the model of the NFL on player’s safety. Their first change is to move the kickoff yard line from the 30 to the 35. Like the NFL, they are hoping to see a decrease in violent collisions and a increase in touchbacks. One improvement to the rule over the NFL is if a team selects a touchback, they team gets the ball at the 25 yard line instead of the 20.
Put this in perspective, last season LSU average about 20 yards per kickoff return and their opponents averaged the same. The big question will be if teams work during the offseason to kick the ball higher and shallower, or continue to try to boom them deep. Also, keep in mind that with the ball five yards closer to mid-field, might we see more on-side kick attempts?
Players Uniform Safety
How many times were you watching a college football game and you, or your buddy made the following comment, “why do the player’s helmets keep coming off?” Both of you tried to come up with hypothesis on why this continues to happen, “There helmets are tool big, they don’t have their chin-straps on correctly, their hair is to big.” Or my favorite “Fall Equinox.” No matter what the cause was, there is now a rule on the epidemic. If a player’s helmet comes off, voluntarily or not, that player must sit out at least on play until the player can put his helmet on correctly.
I have heard opinions that both support and are opposed to the rule changes. As it stands now, I am a little impartial to both. I am in favor of overall player’s safety, but are rule changes the route to go, or is the gladiator-like performances the players feel like the need to have the problem, and until that changes players are going to try and knock the snot out of their opponents. Thus, the chances of injuries are elevated. As it stand now, the NCAA believes it is, so lets sit back and see how it goes. Remember, the NCAA tried to speed the game up a few years ago with new clock operations rules. The rule failed, and the NCAA made immediate changes back to the old system. I have a feeling that if enough coaches and athletic directors are against these rules, changes will happen swiftly.