July 23, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – With officials at all levels of football continually working to make the game safer, it was to be expected that NCAA rules changes for the 2013 season would be a popular topic of discussion Monday and Tuesday at Mountain West Football Media Days at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
The rule generating the most conversation, of course, deals with stiffer penalties for defensive players deemed to be “targeting” or leading with the crown of their helmet.
In addition to the 15-yard personal foul penalty, players now face ejection for the remainder of that game and possibly half of the next contest, depending on when the initial foul occurs. Players flagged for a foul in the first half of a contest will be disqualified for the second half of that contest, but if the penalty occurs in the second half, the player will miss the remainder of the game, plus the first half of his team’s next contest.
Regardless of the penalties assessed, Colorado State Head Coach Jim McElwain knows that the onus is on him, and his coaching staff, to emphasize proper technique to avoid penalties that can hurt the team over the course of a potential two-game stretch.
“I think we need to do a good job as coaches, taking a step back and teaching the correct fundamentals which keep the game what it is,” said McElwain specifically regarding the targeting penalty. “You just see some things now, that are just intent to hurt, and there isn’t a place in the game for it. It’s up to us (coaches) to teach it right. It’s part of the game that you’ve got to deal with. So figure out how you’re going to adjust your teaching.”
McElwain’s team-first mentality showed through in his response to inquiries regarding the rule, noting that it will be discussed with the team in meetings and anytime “teachable” moments arise, with the focus –aside from obvious player safety concerns—being the significant effect on the team as a whole.
Added McElwain: “The thing is, when it does come up, use the teachable moment, and emphasize it in a team meeting that this is unacceptable and you just hurt your team because you are losing this half, or the first half of the next game no matter what.”
Other rule changes include legislation regarding blocking below the waist (permissible from the front within a specified “zone” at the line of scrimmage until the ball has left the zone), the minimum amount of time to allow a team to spike the ball and run a final play (3 seconds), and allowing a player who has lost his helmet to remain on the field for the next play if his team takes a timeout.
For a full rundown of those changes, and more, click here.
Media Days came to a close after McElwain’s morning session on Tuesday. His final day included a 90-minute session with print media, followed by a CBS Sports Network interview and a series of promotional shots and public service announcements for the MW.
Six of the Rams’ games in 2013 will be televised by CBS Sports Network, including the season opener vs. Colorado on Sept. 1.
It’s been a busy week of news already for Colorado State Football. In addition to the interview frenzy of media days, it was announced on Monday that all-time great Rams Joey Porter and Bradlee Van Pelt are part of the six-member Class of 2013 to be inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
The Rams will report for fall camp on Monday, Aug. 5. The first practice is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 6.
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