Blog Entry

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:22 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

As Eric LeGrand continues to make his miraculous recovery from the hit that paralyzed him against Army in October, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has been inspired to try and limit the possibilities of this happening to any player ever again. Steve Politi, of the Star-Ledger, profiled some of the rule changes that Schiano has been suggesting this offseason regarding kickoffs.

This is Schiano’s plan: Replace all kickoffs with a punting situation, including after the opening coin toss and to start the second half. So, as an example, when Team A scores a touchdown, it immediately gets the ball back on a fourth and 15 from its own 30-yard line.

It can punt it back to Team B — the most likely outcome and a safer play since the bigger collisions usually happen on kickoffs. Or it can line up and go for the first down, essentially replacing an onside kick with an offensive play that would require more skill than luck.

Onside kicks work about a quarter of the time in the NFL, according to the website, a deceptive figure because the play is far more successful when the other team isn’t expecting it. Schiano isn’t sure if going for it on fourth and 15 is a higher percentage play — according to the same website, it’s about 18 percent or 19 percent — but success would be less dependent on a favorable bounce.

Any coach will agree that kickoffs are the most dangerous play in football, but getting a drastic change like this put in place will not happen overnight. One "first step" that college football could take would be to move kickoffs to the 35, something the NFL did to increase touchbacks and thus limit the injuries.

“I think we’re wrong in college football,” Schiano said. “We should at the least do what the NFL is doing — at the least. For us not to follow the league with the most research on anything? I don’t think we’re being as responsible as we should be."

Personally, I'd welcome the change. While big hits can fire up a stadium and a sideline, good defense can provide enough of those without the danger of full speed collisions following a 70-yard dash. Plus as an avid NCAA College Football video gamer who never (ever) punts, I will get to attempt 4th and 15 instead of kicking off to my opponent. Which I would plan on doing every. single. time.

Since: Feb 27, 2011
Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:39 am

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

I am in the minority when I say, I have absolutely ZERO sympathy for this kid. While everyone is boo hoo ing for him, watch the tape... he runs full speed downfield, and tackles head down. He brought it on himself...

Instead of changing the rules, teach the kids how to tackle....

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: June 7, 2011 7:32 am

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

Hey, I played for 20 years and was lucky enough to walk away without any significant injuries.  As long as there is football, we will probably see somebody on some level get paralyzed every season.  I do not wish it upon anybody, however, I do think the nature of the game makes it play out that way.  I do not like changing the rules of the game either.  Maybe return teams should start blocking a little better, or the NFL should expand rosters to include a few more players who are willing to play special teams.

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: June 7, 2011 6:16 am

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

And no, I am NOT going to do any real research to prove or disprove my hypothesis.

Dumb as a rock is right...

Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:55 am

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

"Dumb"...sigh...  OK.  Watched the video.  No I hadn't seen it.  My "rock" only picks up meaningful football.  You know, games, teams, programs that matter.  I'm sorry that does not include the Rutgers-Army thriller.  In fact nothing east of State College or north of say....Clemson is of any interest to me, with the exception of Blacksburg.

Why on Earth would I watch a kid get paralyzed?  Something sick about enjoying that, but that's just the way we dumb feel under our rock.

No, what is REALLY dumb are knee-jerk, overly emotional desires to absolutely alter the greatest game on Earth.  Dumb.  I get Coach Schiano's concern for his guy.  No problem with that.  The hit?  Should have clearly been flagged.  It was spearing.  Any time you drop your bonnet and lead the top of your hat, you commit a penalty.  AND you endanger yourself.  Had officials not stopped calling spearing, we would not be infected with the moronic "helmet-to-helmet" rules that are so vague and impossible to enforce fairly, and generally done badly by officiating crews.  News Flash:  You simply CANNOT play football without "helmet-to-helmet" contact.  Where it gets dangers, deadly even, is when a player does what LeGrand did:  Lower your head and use the top of your other words, spear someone.

I feel bad for Eric, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, well, that isn't really true, but certainly not wish it upon a kid I've never met.  The simply fact remains that HE put himself in danger.  Had HE followed the rules, the odds of him being paralyzed are minute.  I wonder if that was his first "big hit" on kickoff coverage?  I'm guessing not.  If that is the case, I wonder if Coach Schiano doesn't feel guilty at some level for not putting a stop to it?  I don't know, that last is pure guessing and speculation, but I'd bet Eric has had other questionable hits.  Whatever the case, get better and keep believing Eric!

And no, I am NOT going to do any real research to prove or disprove my hypothesis.  It just doesn't matter enough to me.  What DOES matter is trying to protect the Beautiful Game from these sorts of deals. 

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: June 6, 2011 11:00 pm

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

Not only are you as dumb as a rock, you've been living under one. Search for "Eric Legrand" on YouTube; I'm sure you'll see the injury and think twice before running your mouth like that again.

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:51 pm

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

You are just as dumb as a rock, High Plains.  Please keep your stupid comments to yourself. 

Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:31 pm

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

Never did see the LeGrand injury.  Was it unavoidable or was he poorly coached?  Not sure I have EVER seen a catastrophic injury that didn't involve a kid being dumb or poorly coached.  If you can't see your target.... 

Again, I haven't seen the injury, but to drastically change a rule because kids either can't remember or haven't been told to keep their heads up, seems a huge over-reaction to me.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or