Tag:Kickoff Rules
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:21 am
 

Embree: new kickoff rules could be dangerous

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The NCAA adopted rule changes on kickoffs for the 2012 season with the hope of reducing injuries, but not everybody thinks that will be the case. Colorado head coach Jon Embree can see a situation where the new rules may lead to even more injuries on kickoffs than before.

The new rule has kickoffs coming from the 35-yard line rather than the 30, in hopes that more kicks will go through the end zone and lead to a touchback. Coverage teams will only be allowed a 5-yard head start in 2012 as well. Rules that, theoretically, should reduce injuries.

However, it's the fact that touchbacks on kickoffs have been moved from the 20-yard line to the 25 that Embree believes may lead to trouble. He told the Daily Camera that it will lead to coaches kicking short on purpose

"I think you high pooch it and cover it," Embree said. "What I think will happen is if you get effective at that, you're putting the other team even more at risk than what the rule intended because unless he fair catches it, he can really take a shot because everyone is closer obviously.

"It will be interesting to see how that plays out. If you get a guy who can kick it to the 7-yard line every time, you can mishandle it and then you will have collisions. It will be interesting to see if they tweak this rule over time. The returner has to have good judgment and a good feel. You're never used to fair catching kickoffs, even though that is something you can do. There are a lot of timing issues that go into a kickoff return that now you're going to have to figure out as a return guy."

It will be interesting to see if Embree's theory is right this fall, and whether or not coaches will adapt to the rule as he suggests they will, or if they prefer booting the ball through the end zone and taking the risk of a touchdown return out of play. 

Whatever the new kickoff rules lead to, we won't know for sure until, well, kickoff.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:39 pm
 

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA announced on Friday the approval of rules changes in college football, including moving the kick off from the 30-yard line to the 35.

While the ball will be kicked from the 35, players on the kicking team can't line up for the play behind the 30-yard line. According to the NCAA, this is intended to limit the running start kicking teams used to have during the play.

Also, touchbacks on free kicks (kickoffs and punts after a safety) will be moved to the 25-yard line instead of the 20. Touchbacks on all other plays will remain at the 20-yard line. According to the Football Rules Committee, this change is meant to encourage more touchbacks from the receiving team.

These changes are a result from examining NCAA data that showed injuries occur more often on kickoffs than in any other phase of the game. By encouraging touchbacks they will limit the amount of times the play is used, especially as higher scoring (see: Big 12) has resulted in more kickoffs.

Another rule change announced Friday could end up affecting games, possibly even more so than the kickoff rules. According to the NCAA, if a player loses his helmet on the play - facemasks and fouls don't count - he must sit out the next play.

Here is the wording from the NCAA release:

Another new rule that goes into effect next season is if a player loses his helmet (other than as the result of a foul by the opponent, such as a facemask), it will be treated like an injury. The player must leave the game and is not allowed to participate for the next play.

Current injury timeout rules guard against using this rule to gain an advantage from stopping the clock. Additionally, if a player loses his helmet, he must not continue to participate in the play, in order to protect him from injury.

If a quarterback or running back loses his helmet late in the fourth quarter of a close game, you can bet coaches will be screaming for flags. Sometimes helmets just pop off, and there could be cases where there is no threat of injury. Regardless, that player must sit out the next play.

Two more adjustments announced on Friday:

The rules panel also approved new wording in the football rules book regarding blocking below the waist. Offensive players in the tackle box at the snap who are not in motion are allowed to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with a few exceptions (for example, straight-ahead blocks).

There will also be a new rule prohibiting players from leaping over blockers in an attempt to block a punt. Receiving-team players trying to jump over a shield-blocking scheme has become popular for teams in punt formation. Receiving-team players try to defeat this scheme by rushing into the backfield to block a punt. In some cases, these players are contacted and end up flipping in the air and landing on their head or shoulders.
 
At the core, all of these changes are meant with the intent of improving player safety. As more medical research reveals dangerous aspects of the sport, changes such as these will be necessary to keep football thriving.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:22 pm
 

LeGrand's legacy: Schiano pushing for rule change

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 advancednflstats.com, 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.
 
 
 
 
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