published Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Richt a supporter of no-kickoff idea

Georgia coach Mark Richt wouldn’t mind if college football did away with its opening play.

Richt said Tuesday at the annual Peach State Pigskin Preview in Macon that he would support Rutgers coach Greg Schiano’s desire to eliminate kickoffs because of the serious injuries they can cause. Schiano had a player, Eric LeGrand, who suffered a spinal cord injury while defending a kickoff last October.

“If it went to a vote, I would vote for no kickoffs also,” Richt told reporters. “I would just place the ball at the 23-yard line or whatever the average has been. I am sure the defensive coaches would want it on the 18 and offensive coaches would want it on the 30.”

Schiano proposed at the recent Big East meetings that teams opening a half or following a score have a fourth-and-15 punting situation at their 30-yard line, so a team could punt the ball away or try to convert the fourth-and-15. College teams currently kick off from the 35-yard line, and the NFL in March moved kickoffs from the 30 to the 35 with the idea of more touchbacks and fewer injuries.

Rogers Redding, the former Southeastern Conference coordinator of officials and current national coordinator for officiating, told the Birmingham News earlier this month that the NCAA could discuss Schiano’s proposal next year.

“It is violent,” Richt said. “It is very, very physical. You’ve got a bunch of guys that can run fast and are strong and are not afraid. It’s kind of a manhood thing. No one is going to back down.”

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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