Brown Talks Helmet Rule

There's a new rule that has Texas coach Mack Brown fired up, and it could affect how coaches spend their timeouts in late-game situations.

In the rule, according to Brown, a player losing his helmet has to stop moving for the play. If it's a ballcarrier, the play is blown dead.

"We met with the officials for an hour … as a staff  and this is one that disturbs me and I feel like we should talk about it  and I may not get it all right, but if you lose your helmet next year, you have to stop playing," Brown said. "And it's a little gray. You can still play in your initial contact with the player in front of you, but you lose your helmet, you can't continue to play somewhere else.

"So if I'm a defensive end rushing the passer, supposedly I can rush him, but quarterback steps up, I can't continue to rush or it's a penalty," Brown said. "If you lose your helmet, you have to come out of the game for a play, regardless. So your quarterback could lose his helmet on the next to the last play of the game and he's out for the last play. And also if you lose your helmet within  in the last minutes of the half at the end of the game, you can have the ten-second runoff rule."

Brown used the example of the Texas A&M comeback.

"So Case McCoy is at A&M, he's trying to get over to the middle of the field and someone happens to hit him in the side of the head and the helmet comes off, and it's not a foul," Brown said. "Then we lose the game, unless you have a timeout. You have to have your timeout like the ten-second runoff rule. So I don't like that rule. I think it can change the game. Now you have to keep a timeout in your pocket and you've got to probably  we have to kick the field goal against A&M with 13 seconds instead of with three, if we don't have a timeout in the pocket."

Brown then answered a hypothetical about what would happen if the officials knew a player could outrun the defenders.

"They'll blow the whistle, the way I understand it," Brown said.

Brown said he believed the rules were implemented because studies showed they would reduce concussions.

"I would think so," Brown said. "The officials don't have that information. All they're doing is trying to tell us. But we're going to try to get Walt back down here to go over it with us again so we understand. And being on the AFCA board, I'm going to bring it up, too, because I think there needs to be clarification on some of those things. What you have is about nine coaches from all different divisions that are in a group with the Safeguards Committee and they sit and make these rules. And I really wish we would have more input instead of just being told, because we didn't even understand some of these until [we were told]."

Brown said he didn't ever remember anybody getting seriously hurt after his helmet came off.

"But I guess it must have happened somewhere or they wouldn't have put such an emphasis on stopping the game," Brown said. "I think what we've done when we make rules and make the official's judgment in a tough spot, I think we're hurting ourselves because how in the world are you going to know when to blow that whistle. Last play of the game and the helmet comes off, you make the decision before the quarterback throws it that he had to stop. I mean it can change lives now."

Brown said he felt the emphasis was right, but thought that changes to equipment might have been the better way to go.

"I thought that would be a better answer is, let's figure out why so many are coming off," Brown said. "One of the officials said the first three plays of the game he did last year an offensive tackle's helmet came off. To me - get him out of the game, fix his helmet. And I do understand that if it's a ball carrier, if it's that crazy linebacker that loses his helmet, gets back up and runs and tries to head butt somebody without a helmet, that's obviously very, very dangerous.

"So I think the emphasis is right in that we need to take care of the kids," Brown said. "And now we've got to figure out what all this means, because I'm glad it came up for us … because we need to call and get some answers and make sure that how are we going to teach it."


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