Nick Saban reveals his thoughts on new fair catch rule, offers up easier adjustment to kickoff rules
Alabama’s coach has been around long enough, he’s seen a number of rule changes to college football’s kickoff rules. Judging by his comments regarding the new fair catch kickoff rule, you have to wonder if the people responsible for that rule change should have just asked Nick Saban how he would solve the program.
If you missed the news, the NCAA has changed a kickoff rule which will go into effect immediately next season. The rule change makes any fair catch on a kickoff result in the ball being dead and giving the receiving team the ball on the 25-yard line.
The Crimson Tide coach was asked to share his thoughts on the rule change during his latest media availability.
“I would have liked to have seen a different solution. I understand the reason, I respect the reason — which is player safety, but I guess I’ve been around long enough to remember when we use to kick off from the 40-yard line,” Saban said. “There were too many touchbacks, so we moved it back to the 35.
“So, for us old timers, I thought it would be an easier solution to just move it back up to the 40-yard line, because you’d get more touchbacks but you could still sky kick, onside kick — which you can still do some of those things, but you sky kick trying to give someone bad field position and they can fair catch the ball on the 15-yard line and get it on the 25.
“That takes some of the strategy out of the game, to me, with the result that we had. And you would have had the same result if you just moved it up five yards because almost everybody in college football would kick nothing but touchbacks… and you still would have all the strategies that you could have used in other circumstances.”
It’s an interesting point and one you have to question whether the NCAA rules committee considered before passing their rule change.