My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Richt favors eliminating kickoffs

Mark Richt is another coach who supports eliminating kickoffs, although he doesn’t fall fully in step with the proposal by Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano.

And one of Richt’s own Georgia players is in complete opposition to the proposal.

Schiano recently proposed that the kickoff – considered to be the most dangerous play in football – be eliminated altogether. Schiano suggests that it be replaced with a fourth-and-15 situation from the 30, with teams being given the option to punt or go for it.

The motivation for Schiano’s proposal stemmed from his player, Eric LeGrand, being paralyzed on a kickoff last year. Richt, who also had a player suffer a serious injury on a kickoff, is of a like mind.

“I think if it went to a vote, I would vote for no kickoff also,” Richt said Tuesday, while attending a media day for football coaches in the state. “I would just place the ball on the 23-yard line, or whatever it is, whatever the average has been. I’m sure defensive coaches would want it on the 18, and offensive coaches would want it on the 30.”

Richt recalled that when he started coaching he was in the booth and wasn’t involved in special teams. It was only when he moved down to the field that he saw how potentially violent a full-speed kickoff could be.

“Being up in the booth you just can’t sense the speed and the violence of the hits,” Richt said. “Then when I became the head coach at Georgia and now I’m standing on the sideline, and I’m watching it from me to you, it is violent, it is very physical. You’ve got a bunch of guys that can run strong. They’re fast, and they’re not afraid. It’s kind of a manhood thing: No one’s gonna back down.”

The wedge block – where essentially two players block one – has already been outlawed, a move Richt called “wise.”

Richt said he hasn’t spoken to other coaches about the issue. But he remembered back to Decory Bryant, whose career ended in 2003 after a neck injury on a kickoff.

“We had a young man get hurt on that also, which ended his playing career. So I’m not all that excited about it,” said Richt, who also acknowledged how hard it would be to get people on board with the change. “It is an exciting play. It’s probably gonna be a bigger story than it should be. I don’t think it’s gonna happen anytime soon, I don’t. It’d be a major, major rule change, no doubt.”

So major a rule change that it would certainly have a lot of opposition – including from Christian Robinson, the defensive captain for Georgia.

“I think that would just take away a lot of plays that are game-changing. It’s a dangerous sport,” he said. “Excitement. The first play. Everybody wants kickoffs. You don’t just line up and play. That first kickoff when the crowd’s going wild. And if you eliminate that you’re eliminating a part of the game.”

Robinson, a junior, pointed out that plenty of players who get to play on kickoff who wouldn’t otherwise. He played on the unit his first two seasons at Georgia.

“If they eliminate that, that’d be very disappointing,” Robinson said. “That’s how I got a bunch of my tackles. Coaches tried me on kickoff and I got more time on defense. So that’d be disappointing if they got rid of it. Because I know that’s where a lot of players get their confidence and get their start.”

No comments: