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Blog: Richt on proposed substitution rule change: ‘I personally don’t think it’s a health-issue deal’

Georgia’s Mark Richt became the latest major college football coach to weigh in on the proposed NCAA rule change that coaches who run hurry-up offenses have spoken out against.

The defensive substitution rule would not allow offensive teams to snap the ball in the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock without getting a 5-yard penalty.

The NCAA rules committee proposed the change—with lobbying from Alabama’s Nick Saban—in the name of player safety.

Richt is skeptical of that.

“I feel like if you can train offensive players to play five or six plays in a row, you can train defensive players to play that many plays in a row, too,” Richt said Thursday afternoon. “I personally don’t think it’s a health-issue deal, but if there’s some evidence otherwise, it will be interesting to see it. …I think it’s somebody’s assumption. I don’t think there’s any hard evidence on it.”

Indeed, committee chair Troy Calhoun from Air Force has said there may not be evidence of a safety issue and if not “there should not be any adjustment,” to the rule.

An NCAA rules oversight panel needs to approve the change on March 6 for it to be enacted.

Richt said he was “a little bit surprised,” about the proposal because he didn’t stay at the AFCA convention because he returned home to replace Todd Grantham as defensive coordinator that weekend after he left for Louisville.

“I don’t know how many teams snap the ball shorter than 10 seconds,” Richt said. “When I saw that, my immediate reaction was I’m curious to see how many teams snap it before 10. And to even look at our situation, would it really affect us in a negative way if you’re thinking about going fast offensively?”

I blogged about how many times the ball was snapped in the first 10 seconds in the Georgia games against Missouri and Clemson that you can find here.

Richt had plenty of success as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Florida State running uptempo offenses.

“We started going fast at Florida State in 1992 and then ’93 we were going at breakneck speed as fast as we could until I got to Georgia,” he said.
ACC officials, he said, put the ball on the ground and got out of the way.

“It wasn’t quite happening that way in the SEC,” Richt said. “Who knows what the reasons were?”

Richt said he didn’t think even with quarterback Hutson Mason now preferring to run more uptempo that the rule change would affect Georgia’s offense.

“Again, I just don’t know how many people are consistently snapping the ball under 10,” Richt said. “You can still go no-huddle and you can still go at a pretty good clip. …Even if you snap it at …29 or whatever it is, you’re still going pretty darn fast. I don’t think it will be a huge deal if it does change, but I doubt very seriously it changes this quickly.”

–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer

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