New player-safety rules greet 2013 college football season
When the 2013 college football season begins tomorrow (Thurs.), there are a few new rules in effect that are going to really upset head coaches on whose team these infractions are called.
Two of these new rules have to do with targeting—initiating contact with the crown of the helmet and targeting and initiating contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.
According to an article in a recent edition of USA Today Sports Weekly, the foul itself has not changed. These plays have been subject to penalty since 2008, but the penalty has been stiffened to include automatic ejection plus the 15-yard penalty.
The ejection can be overturned by replay review. However, even if the ejection is overturned, the 15-yard penalty still will be marked off.
Another new targeting rule that carries ejection is for a player to launch (leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area).
Also a crouch (followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the neck or head area); leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area or lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet.
Should a player be ejected in the second half or overtime, he also is suspended for the first half of the NEXT game.
“We want to protect the game and to help reduce critical injuries with this message: Play the game hard, but stay away from serious fouls,” commented Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College football Officiating said in a National Football Foundation news release.
“By making changes, we are signaling that the safety of the student-athlete stands at the very top of our list of priorities,” Redding continued. “The clear intent is to change player behavior.”
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops and many of his peers are a bit skeptical of the enforcement of these targeting fouls. “Hopefully they’re getting it right, because that’s a big penalty to have a guy tossed out of a game,” Stoops elaborated.
The confusing blocking below the waist rule has been modified so that any offensive back stationary inside the tackle box (7 yards either side of the snapper and 5 yards into the defensive secondary) and offensive lineman inside the zone may legally block below the waist until the ball has left the zone. Everyone else on the offensive team may legally block below the waist only if the block is clearly in front of the opponent.
Another new rule has to do with the expansion of the 10-second runoff. If a player is injured within the last minute of a half and this is the only reason for stopping the clock, the opponent may choose to have 10 seconds subtracted from the game clock. The injured player’s team can preserve the 10 seconds by using a timeout.
The rule requiring a player to leave the game for one down if his helmet comes off has been modified to allow a player to remain in the game if his team is granted a charged timeout to adjust the helmet. As before, if a player’s helmet comes off as the result of a foul (like a face-mask penalty) the player does not have to leave the game.
Modification of the spiking rule by the quarterback is that teams now will need a minimum of three seconds from the referee’s signal to spike the ball to allow for another play at the end of a half. If the clock shows less than three seconds, a team will have enough time only to run a play without first spiking the ball.
This season, if a team wants to use a player at different positions during the game and the player needs to change jersey numbers, the player must report to the referee, who will in turn announce the change. In addition, two players who play the same position at different times in the game may not wear the same number during the game.
The final rule change makes the most sense– the color of the jersey number itself must be clearly and obviously in contrast with the jersey, regardless of any border around the number.
This Korner believes that some of these rules changes were made just to pacify those who have been complaining for years about the sport of football becoming too violent.
Perhaps these changes may reduce some of the more blatant fouls that occur, but it certainly won’t keep the complainers quiet until the game becomes more like touch football.
KWICKIES…The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent quarterback Matt Leinart Sunday to fill an immediate need at Buffalo’s injury-depleted quarterback position. Kevin Kolb left Saturday’s game against Washington because of concussion-like symptoms and first-round pick E.J. Manuel is out for the rest of the pre-season with a knee injury. Leinart was the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner at Southern Cal and was drafted in the first round by Arizona in 2006, where he played for four seasons. He spent 2011 with the Houston Texans and last season with the Oakland Raiders.
The Little League world championship team from Tokyo displayed unbelievable patience in Sunday’s game for all the marbles against Chula Vista, Calif. by making 6-4 inch fireballer Grant Holman throw strikes. Holman had to leave the mound after throwing the maximum 85 pitches and the team from Japan attacked the reliever and turned a 4-4 game into a 6-4 with a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning. Thank goodness there were no pitch counts or double-eliminations back in 1954 when I played on the world championship team at Williamsport.
Adam Scott had to wait for what probably seemed like an eternity to win the PGA Tour Barclays last weekend at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J. Scott fired a final round 66 and then had to wait a couple of hours for the third-round leaders to finish their respective rounds. Gary Woodland had a chance to tie Scott with a birdie on the final hole but missed, and Tiger Woods had to birdie the final three holes and made birdies on the first two holes but putted an inch short on the 72nd hole to share second place with Woodland, Graham DeLaet and Justin Rose. This tourney was the first of four events for the prestigious FedEx Cup playoffs.
It looks like former Texas Longhorn star quarterback Vince Young has won the job as Aaron Rodgers’ backup at Green Bay after the Packers released Graham Harrell, who was the incumbent No. 2 quarterback.
Don’t expect to see many of your favorite players on the field tomorrow (Thurs.) night when Houston Texans meet the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. This game should be feisty, though, because many of the players on the field will be scrambling to make the 53-man roster which will be announced this weekend. Both the Texans and the Cowboys looked much improved on offense, while the defense must be evaluated with the idea that neither of the coordinators want to show too much of what they’ll be using once the season starts.
JUST BETWEEN US…Former Little Cypress-Mauriceville Class 4A state champion discus thrower Hayden Reed won his specialty Friday night at the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships in Medellin, Colombia with a winning throw of 205 feet, 0 inches. He made his winning effort on his final throw of the competition. Reed, who red-shirted at Alabama during the 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons, earned a spot on the U.S. National Team in June by winning the USATF Junior National Championships. “He did a great job,” said Crimson Tide coach Doug Reynolds. “He battled back from adversity, was third going into the finals and he moved up on every throw with the winning throw coming on his final throw. That kind of mental focus and composure under pressure is an invaluable foundation for future success as his career develops.” The Pan American Junior Athletics Championships showcases many top international junior athletes and are open to athletes age 16-19 as of Dec. 31, 2013.