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New Rules SEC Referees will keep a close eye on in 2018

Phil Ellsworth | ESPN

Each year college football experiences a handful of rule changes.  Some dramatically change who will be on the field, like the new redshirt rule, while others are small cosmetic changes.

Last year, the headline grabber was the emergence of the Get-Back Coach.  Without a graduate assistant holding onto the head coach’s belt buckle, a 15-yard penalty would be issued when a head coach entered the playing field.  As the 2017 college football season unfolded, the flags rarely flew.

This year officials are taking pettiness to a new level.  Players can now be removed from the game for one play if their kneepads do not cover their knees.

“I really want our officials worried more about offensive and defensive pass interference in working the game, but one of the rules says now that the kneepads and the pants must cover the knee,” SEC head official Steve Shaw said at SEC Media Days.

It’s similar to when a player loses a helmet.  They must sit out a play, or the coach must burn a timeout to keep them in the game.  It’s silly, but I guess that’s why they’re called kneepads.

By rule, Georgia’s Terry Godwin would have to miss a play. 


The new kickoff rule might be the biggest change.  If a player calls for a fair catch on a kickoff inside the 25-yard line, his team will start the ensuing drive on the 25.  The rule removes the coffin corner strategy on kickoffs, taking another step to minimize special teams in an effort to increase player safety.

The rest of the rule changes all revolve around blocking.  There are many different degrees, but I won’t bore you with them all.  The big two:

  • Players can not block below the waist more than five yards downfield.
  • Peel-back blocks (the best blocks) are now illegal.

The biggest rule change will not determine what is actually happening on the field, rather who will be on it.  Players can now play up to four games without burning a  redshirt and losing a year of eligibility.  Mark Stoops is commented on the matter a few times already, but here’s what he had to say at the podium in the Main Room yesterday.

“I think again it will be, in a way, like the way it was done before on an individual basis. Some guys may be ready to play right away and you’re going to use them for the full year. Some guys maybe aren’t ready. And by the end of the year, you have some injuries and you need to plug them in, so it will be on an individual basis, but I am excited about that opportunity. I think it’s a great rule for the players.”

It will be a new advantage for young players, but only if their knees are covered in pads.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

12 Comments for New Rules SEC Referees will keep a close eye on in 2018

  1. ClutchCargo
    11:38 am July 17, 2018 Permalink

    I have a bad feeling about the blocking rules. Seems like more opportunity for selective enforcement and phantom calls.

    • J-Dub421
      12:03 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink


    • jaws2
      12:28 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

      So with dumb and dumber calling the games, how many times this year do you think this call is going to be missed, given to the home team, or given to the favored teams at the top of the SEC?
      What’s the over under on the call being made at 4.5yards and 5.5yards? This is waaaaay to subjective and some teams are going to potentially win or lose games because there’s no way a ref running down the field can consistently make this call. If this can’t be reviewed it’s a nightmare waiting to happen. Oh, and if it is reviewable, how long do you think games are going to last? This rule is just to stupid.

  2. Mathlete
    12:06 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

    Honestly, deliberately blocking below the waist needs to be banned anyway. It would completely kill teams like Georgia Tech (whose entire blocking strategy is below the waist), but there’s just no reason for a 250-300lb man to dive at another 250-300lb man’s knees dozens of times in an afternoon. If you’re a lineman wearing a knee brace, that’s probably a major reason why; it’s a cheap and unnecessary tactic.

    • runningunnin.454
      12:58 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

      Georgia Tech sucks. Do unto them as they do unto you.

    • J-Dub421
      3:08 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly, I can still remember watching our players drop like flies to knee injuries against Georgia Tech a couple years ago in the bowl game. It felt like half our team went out with knee injuries that game.

    • ClutchCargo
      3:26 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

      This rule would have little effect on Georgia Tech’s blocking at the line of scrimmage, which is where most of it was happening. The “5 yards downfield” thing makes It a garbage rule, certain to be botched by garbage officials, and I completely expect it to cost us a game very soon.

  3. Ridge Runner
    1:57 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

    Nice “last sentence “ Nick. I liked that…

    • zoupman
      8:37 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

      True that gcatfan. I believe that incompetent ref is racist. Should not be calling division 1 games.

  4. Greatcatfan
    2:17 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

    Now some ref with money on the game can kick out Benny for another stupid reason.

  5. RealCatsFan
    4:21 pm July 17, 2018 Permalink

    What about the rule where UK is not allowed to beat UF?

  6. zoupman
    8:34 am July 18, 2018 Permalink

    Who is holding the refs accountable? The ref who tossed Benny from the bowl game last year should be suspended for a year, if not life. Dude way over reacted and effected out come of the game.