Brown Discusses New Special Teams Rules

For Texas this spring, looking at kickoffs isn't just about finding the right guy to return the kicks. It's about finding a kickoff philosophy.

"The obvious [thing] next year with the kicking, the kickoff rule changing, is something we're all having to really look at," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "And we're all talking to different head coaches across the country. And what do you do? Do you try to kick it out every time? If you have a huge wind, are you going to have some short anyway? Do you try to sky kick back to the 10yard line? So there's a lot of different scenarios of what will happen. Will more people squib instead of trying to kick it out to try to keep you inside the 25? Deep sky kicks? What will change?

"So we're looking at all that, especially with the wind in this league, because there are certain days you're certainly still not going to be able to kick it off, even from the 35," Brown said.

That wasn't the only special teams rule to change.

"You've gone back to the Halo Rule, and I don't like this specifically," Brown said. "So we're going to talk about it. But you've got that one-yard halo in front of the returner. You do not have a halo behind him. But if at any time you break that one-yard halo, then it's a 15-yard penalty.

"Now, if Alan's covering me and I'm returning the punt and I bobble it and go toward Alan and Alan is within a yard of me and doesn't touch me, I catch it after a fair catch, it's a 15-yard penalty on Alan," Brown said. "To me, if Alan comes and hits me before the ball's dropped, it's a 15-yard penalty. If Alan's standing six inches from me instead of a yard, I don't think you get 15 yards for that. He's a little bit close because I fell into him as I was catching the ball. So I really hope that we'll re-look at some of those things and try to make a difference."

Brown also said there was a new rule on onside kicks, stating: "if the ball is kicked and hits the ground and bounces up in the air I can [now] fair catch it."

"I think they're protecting the guy that's standing there getting ready to catch the pop up and everybody's running over him," Brown said. "If it touches the ground once I can call a fair catch now on the kickoff on the onside kick. You'll have to kick the ball on the ground. If you hit it twice, can bounce it twice, get it to jump, then there's no fair catch."

Brown said the rule changes would be a source of emphasis for the Texas coaches.

"Now covering punts became more different today than it was yesterday, and punt return is now a viable chance again, better than kickoff return," Brown said. "So they gave you better opportunity to return punts and a lesser opportunity to return kickoffs with the rule changes."

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