SE: Safety a Point of Emphasis in 2012
Aug. 27, 2012
By Mark Janssen
As they normally are, those in black and white stripes will be right as there have been adjustments made to the kickoff and kickoff return rules for the 2012 season in an effort to eliminate injuries from high-speed collisions on returns.
“Teams are going to have the choice of kicking it out of the end zone and giving the team the ball at the 25 or trying to hang the kickoff high in hopes of having it come down at about the five-yard line and doing a good job with their coverage,” said K-State associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder. “It’s probably viewed as a good rule by kickoff teams and a bad rule for kickoff-return teams.”
While saying he understands how the rule is designed to reduce the number of injuries, and in particular head injuries, Snyder said, “It’s also going to eliminate one of the most exciting plays in the game, which is the kickoff return.”
In addition, another safety adjustment will come on onside kicks that are driven into the ground and bound high into the air.
While the receiving player could have been hit a year ago, this season the receiving player on such an onside kick will be given the same protection as a punt returner.
“We’re trying to make the game as safe as we possibly can,” said Walt Anderson, who serves as Supervisor of Officials for the Big 12 Conference. “You’re going to see onside kicks, but I think you’re going to see more of them that dance and take funny bounces on the turf as opposed to the type that are almost pooch kicks. The new rule will have potential player receiving the kick being given the protection of not having to worry about being blocked.”
OTHER 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS:
• FALSE START: A point of emphasis this year will come in shotgun formations when the center is looking between his legs makes an abrupt movement of his head as if to simulate the start of a play to make the defense jump off sides.
• HALO RULE: The new “halo” rule on receiving punts and kickoffs is now only a one-yard allowance, which is a reduction from past years when a two-yard halo was allowed.