Those get-back coaches might be in line for more camera time this season. That’s because they might save their head coach a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty.

Coaches stepping on the field to argue with officials is nothing new, but this year that kind of behavior will be enforced across the country. Steve Shaw, the SEC coordinator of officials, outlined the changes at SEC Media Days where he said league coaches have seen examples of past incidents that previously weren’t penalized, but will be this year.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp joked during Media Days that the Gamecocks will have two get-back coaches and one will have the authority to tackle him.

Here are other important changes for this season:

Horse-collar tackle

The penalty for pulling down a ball-carrier by grabbing the inside of the jersey or shoulder pads from behind now includes the nameplate area. Players are barred from doing that and immediately pulling a ball-carrier down unless they are inside the tackle box. So watch for this on open-field tackles.

Zach Cunningham rule

Remember the Vanderbilt linebacker’s spectacular hurdle and block against Auburn last year? It’s now illegal.

Players can no longer leap and hurdle to block a field goal or an extra point attempt.

Defensive players won’t be allowed to run from beyond the neutral zone and leap or hurdle in an obvious way to block a kick. Though they are allowed to make the play from a stationary position within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

In short, there will be no more running starts.


Players this year must have knee pads that cover their knees, and if violating the rule, must leave the game for at least one down, and fix the equipment. The knee pads must also be covered by the pants and no protective equipment will be allowed to be worn outside the pants.