Last offseason, the 10-second proposal was garnering the most headlines. While that’s now off the table, another interesting proposal has Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze upset.


It could hinder the creativity of offenses.

It involves the illegal man downfield penalty. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel will vote Thursday on a proposal that would reduce the yards (3 to 1) that offensive linemen can move down field on a pass play.

Malzahn and Freeze fear they are losing the battle and that this one will pass.

“It’s going to change the way we do things, those of us who are run-pass offenses, and when you look around college football right now, that’s a lot of us,” Malzahn told ESPN’s Chris Low. “You’re always looking for ways to be creative, and I don’t think you should ever change the rules to take creativity out of the game unless it’s a safety issue. This is not a safety issue.

“This is two years in a row now that something like this has happened, and it looks like this one will get through.”

Malzahn later added that scoring would decrease, and since the rule would have a negative effect on the game’s creativity, it would decrease game attendance, too.

Freeze echoed Malzahn’s sentiments.

“I understand those coaches who are upset when a lineman is 5 or 6 yards downfield and the quarterback pulls up and throws a pass,” Freeze told ESPN. “That’s a penalty and should be called. Throw the flag, but don’t penalize those of us who are doing it right and coaching it right by changing the rule.”

According to ESPN, the rule is 50-50 among college head coaches, according to a poll by NCAA’s Coordinator of Officials, Rogers Redding.