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Blog: Looking at impact proposed play-clock rule change on UGA vs. Missouri and Clemson

The college football world is reacting to what came out of an NCAA rules committee meeting last week regarding a proposed change that will impact hurry-up offenses.

If it gets final approval, teams would be penalized if they snap a ball before 10 seconds are elapsed on the 40-second play clock.

So what would that have meant last season for Georgia?

For that, we looked at opponents on Georgia’s schedule that ranked highest for most total plays last season: Missouri and Clemson.

Any play snapped prior to 29 seconds left on the play clock would draw a five-yard penalty.

The proposed change was being made in the name of increased player safety to allow time for the defense to substitute players, but there has been pushback about that.

Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema are proponents of the change who reportedly took part in committee discussions but do not have a vote. Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, Texas A&M Kevin Sumlin and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, who run uptempo offenses, have spoken out against the change.

An NCAA rules oversight panel will need to approve the change on March 6.

Georgia opens with Clemson this coming season and plays at Missouri. The Bulldogs lost to both last season.

Missouri had three plays in its first 13 offensive snaps against Georgia within the first 10 seconds of the play clock, with the ball snapped with 32, 30 and 32 seconds left.
The Bulldogs held up well on those plays.

Cornerback Shaq Wiggins dropped Dorial Green-Beckham for a loss on a quick pass. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons tackled a runner after a two-yard gain. On the other play, Missouri completed a 12-yard pass.

That was it for plays in that window for Missouri against Georgia. The Tigers opened a 28-10 halftime lead and let the play clock creep under 10 seconds on 13 second-half plays. One second-half play may have also been snapped with about 30 seconds on it, but the broadcast didn’t show the play clock.

The cumulative impact of no-huddle, uptempo offenses is to wear down the defense. Remember, Georgia drew attention against Clemson when Leonard Floyd was suspected of faking an injury to slow down the pace, something it denied.

Clemson snapped the ball five times in the first 10 seconds against Georgia, with 32, 31, 31, 33 and 31 seconds on the play clock. One of those came in the final two minutes of the first half, so a penalty would not have been assessed.

The plays that would have been penalties produced a two-yard loss on a run after a stop by Jordan Jenkins, a two-yard run, a dropped pass and a 6-yard completion.

What about Georgia?

The Bulldogs snapped the ball three times against Clemson in the first 10 seconds but all came in the final two minutes of halves. Aaron Murray was sacked on one play and Keith Marshall ran for 4 yards and caught a pass to get to the 1-yard line.

Against Missouri, Georgia had one play that would have drawn a penalty—a 9-yard Murray run on a zone read when the ball was snapped with 33 seconds on the play clock.

Murray often made checks at the line. I counted 24 plays alone against Clemson when the play clock went under 10 seconds. Georgia even got a delay of game penalty to start the second half and used a timeout to avoid another delay of game.

Will the rule change go forward?

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, football rules committee chair, told Tim Brando today on his radio show: “Is there, and there may not be, but do we have something that’s sound just medically, is there a safety issue or not? And if there is not, then there should not be any adjustment to currently the way we play the game. If there is, then I think we’ve got to look at something.”

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