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Football: New rules for 2014 college season

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, August 23, 2014



Defenders are going to have to be more careful when tackling opposing quarterbacks this season. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser)


With most new seasons come new rules, and for NCAA college football 2014 is no exception.

As explained by the National Football Foundation and College Football Officiating national coordinator Rogers Redding, major rules changes for the 2014 season include:

• Instant replay to remove the 15-yard penalty for targeting penalties when appropriate: “In games where instant replay is used, (a) player is returned to the game if video review shows conclusively that there was no forcible contact to the head and neck area or with the crown of the helmet. If this happens in 2014, and there is not another personal foul in combination with the targeting foul, then the 15-yard penalty is also erased;” and

• Extension of the rule for roughing the passer: “A new rule in 2014 prohibits the defense from making forcible contact at the knee or below to an opponent who is in a passing posture.”

UL head coach Mark Hudspeth is all for the first.

“That’s a rule I think they knew they had to change,” he said. “All the head coaches in the country were for that.”

As for quarterbacks, Hudspeth is all about protecting them. He has concerns, however, about how the other will be enforced.

The quarterback protection rule enhancement, according to the NFF, is “designed to eliminate knee injuries on plays where the defensive player forcibly drives a shoulder, helmet or forearm into the lower leg of the passer,” but “is not intended to prevent the defense from making a legitimate wrap-up tackle in which the contact is at or below the knee.”

“(That), I think, is a good rule – because I don’t think there’s one team in the country that’s gonna be as productive without their starting quarterback,” Hudspeth said. “There’s not one team in the National Football League.

“But how are they gonna be consistent? That always worries you, because tat’s always a judgment call. Is he getting pushed into the quarterback? Did he fall into the quarterback? Did he do it intentionally.

“I think there’s a lot of grey area,” Hudspeth added, “that they’re gonna have to really a great job of seeing, and distinguishing the difference between, in a moment’s notice.”

This preseason, Hudspeth is making UL defensive players of what will be expected from them in that regard.

“They’ve got to be aware of that – that they cannot fall into the quarterback’s knees,” he said.

But, the Cajun coach hastened to add, “You don’t want to slow them (rushing defensive players) down, for sure. So it’s a fine line.”

The need to avoid illegal targeting, however, is something Hudspeth thinks his Cajuns already are well-aware.

“I think they’ve gotten that point across the last couple of years,” he said. “As much as we see it, as much we talk about it, I think we’ve moved past that, I hope.”