SEC Media Day 2: Rule Changes, Dawgs, and more
Day 2 of SEC media days began with a rundown of new rules and rule changes for the 2018 season from Steve Shaw, coordinator of football officials. Here is a quick breakdown of what is changing and what it all means.
The SEC is cracking down on uniform policy, specifically below the waist. Players will no longer get to show off those lovely kneecaps or even thigh muscles. Knee pads must be covered by the player’s pants, which must completely cover the knee. This rule is obviously for player safety and will be treated like a helmet issue. That means a player must leave the field of play for one down unless a timeout is called.
The fair catch rule is being affected this season. Now, if a player is behind his own 25-yard line when calling for a fair catch his team is awarded the ball at the 25-yard line. This decision, like many others this season, is looking towards player safety. It will not, however, prevent bang-bang plays if a player decides NOT to fair catch the ball. This new rule seems to incentivize players to actually catch the ball when inside the 25 and not let it roll out towards the end zone, leaving the possibility of a defensive player stopping the ball.
Blocking took a hit this year, pun intended. New rules this year focus on players not being allowed to block or tackle below the waist beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage. This keeps offensive and defensive players from dishing out or taking serious knee injuries that plague the game. Also, an offensive lineman must now block in front of a defensive player rather than being able to come in from the side and essentially blindside the defender.
Special teams will see a fan favorite play be virtually wiped out moving forward. The ploy, as made famous by Seattle Seahawk Cam Chancellor, of leaping over the offensive line to block a kick is eliminated. However, if a defensive lineman, who is within one yard of the line of scrimmage in a stationary position, is capable of leaping over the offensive line then that is deemed a legal move.
Coach Kirby Smart was the first head coach of Day 2 to address the media. Coming off a disappointing National Championship loss, Smart says things will be simple this season.
“It’s going to be the measure of potential versus effectiveness. And when I say that, a lot of people are like, yeah, every team has a certain amount of potential. I think potential is dormant ability. And I think effectiveness is what we get out of our potential.”
Now when it comes to the National Championship, senior wide receiver Terry Godwin let everyone know the team is not thinking about it.
“We’re not using it as motivation or any type of fuel,” said Godwin. “We’re just trying to build off it. We know that, alright, we coulda done better. We coulda done this better, but we’re going in this season, this offseason working harder.
By: Caleb Johnson