Mack Brown not a fan of new helmet rule

AUSTIN - Every year in college football there are rules changes. Normally things are on a two-year cycle but, at the end of the day, there are minor tweaks here and there just about every year.

Safety was one of the biggest concerns that the NCAA Football Rules Committee addressed at their most recent meeting, passing several controversal new changes that has coaches across the country trying to make sense of them. One of the most notable additions in 2012 is the new helmet rule (here's a look at details of all the changes), which Texas coach Mack Brown and staff spend over an hour discussing with officials at a workshop on Monday.

"This is one that disturbs me and I feel like we should talk about it  and I may not get it all right, but if you lose your helmet next year, you have to stop playing," Brown said. "And it's a little gray. You can still play in your initial contact with the player in front of you, but you lose your helmet, you can't continue to play somewhere else. So if I'm a defensive end rushing the passer, supposedly I can rush him, but quarterback steps up, I can't continue to rush or it's a penalty. If you lose your helmet, you have to come out of the game for a play, regardless."

More than one assistant and Brown himself noted that if the rule had been in place last year, they likely would have lost the game to Texas A&M. Because there is also a 10-second run off, keeping a timeout in your back pocket becomes crucial and caused several on offense to remark that it will force some tweaks to how they run things in the 4th quarter.

Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite even suggested that if he were a defensive line coach, he'd tell his players to aim a little higher when they do their initial punch and see if the opposing lineman's helmet comes off. If that were to happen at the end of the game, the offense couldn't stop the runoff and might lose the game. Quirks like this are why coaches dislike the fact that they had no say in the execution of the idea.

"Being on the AFCA board, I'm going to bring it up, too, because I think there needs to be clarification on some of those things," Brown added. "What you have is about nine coaches from all different divisions that are in a group with the Safeguards Committee and they sit and make these rules. And I really wish we would have more input instead of just being told, because we didn't even understand some of these until yesterday."

Brown didn't remember anybody getting hurt with their helmet off as an incident that spurred the new rule and takes issue with the sudden development he now has to prepare for. Entering his 15th season in Austin, the head coach also suggested that FBS schools be able to make separate rules and regulations as opposed to NCAA-wide changes.
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