Add Georgia’s Mark Richt to the growing list of coaches to question the NCAA rules committee’s substitution proposal.
The proposed rule stipulates an offense would be assessed a five-yard penalty for snapping the ball in the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. It was ostensibly proposed to help prevent injuries, though it’s appeared far more targeted at curbing hurry-up offenses.
To Richt, there’s not enough proof that slowing down offenses would better prevent injuries.
“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, via the Athens Banner-Herald’s Marc Weizser. “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.”
Richt isn’t necessarily taking sides here — he said the rule change wouldn’t affect his offense — but he’s meeting it with a healthy dose of skepticism. That’s a good thing. Gus Malzahn, Rich Rodriguez and Kevin Sumlin are among the coaches who’ve spoken out against the proposal, and Richt didn’t sound like it would pass even if some validity to the claims is discovered.
The proposal is scheduled to be reviewed by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury