Friday Q&A: July 13, 2012

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1) What are some possible impacts of college football rule changes this year?  What about the blocking below the waist rule change?

The rule change with the potential to cause some issues is the requirement for players to miss a down if they lose their helmet on the previous play.  That could create some major problems if that player happens to be the QB.  Imagine an offense driving the ball for the game winning FG attempt or TD and the QB loses his helmet with 0:10 seconds to go in the game.  Having the QB sit out the last play of the half or game could have a major impact on the game’s outcome.

Just as concerning with respect to the same rules change is the requirement for players to “stop playing” when they lose their helmet.  Players who continue to play without a helmet are subject to a 15 yard penalty – a judgment call at the discretion of the officials.  Those judgment calls are certain to cause controversy at some point during the season, especially if a DE loses his helmet just before getting an arm on a QB who has started to escape the pocket.  Instead of a sack, an official could decide that it’s 15 yards and an automatic first down.

Those changes were made in the interest of player safety, but I would be surprised not to see some adjustments to those same rules again next year.   There are just too many potential issues to leave those rules as they are defined for the 2012 season.

One rules change that will have little impact is the clarifications regarding “blocking below the waist”.  The essence of the changes were to clarify more specifically what was allowed (and not allowed) to make them less of a judgment call for officials.  For those wondering if these changes would impact GT’s cut-blocking schemes, they won’t.  The changes will have minimal impact on blocking inside the so-called tackle box.

2) What will be the biggest area of change for our offense?  What will be the keys to success?  What about the health of D.J. Coles ?