Rich Rodriguez-WVU

West Virginia head football coach Rich Rodriguez (center) shouts instructions to backup quarterback Jarrett Brown (right) during spring drills last month.

Rich Rodriguez said Monday afternoon that he generally likes the college football rule changes for 2007.

Especially important to West Virginia’s veteran head coach is the restoration of two major rules from 2005.

Those will stop the clock on possession changes and won’t be started on kickoffs until the receiving team touches the ball.

“I thought they should go back to how the clock was before 2006,” Rodriguez said. “It took too many plays away from a team and really hindered a (trailing) team’s chances of coming back and winning.

“They tried the timing change last year and saw it wasn’t better for the game. There were better ways to shorten the time of games.”

Rodriguez thinks the rules committee eventually will come up with some good ideas to shorten the overall time but not take away plays from the game.

Last year the clock wasn’t stopped on possession changes and was started when the ball left a kicker’s foot on kickoffs.

“Those changes took away between 10 and 15 plays from most games,” Rodriguez said. “I think that altered the game too much.

“People come to games to watch teams play. I think shortening the timeouts and moving the kickoff to the 30-yard line (from the 35) and some other things are better ways to shorten games.”

Rodriguez simply did not like last year’s changes, which the rules oversight panel wiped out last week.

“Those limited the opportunity of teams rallying from behind late in a game,” he noted. “It was like taking away timeouts.

“You could really eat up a lot of clock if you had a good lead late in the game.”

As for kicking off from the 30, he said that’s what the NFL has done. And he believes it has helped shorten professional games slightly.

“It’s certainly going to change a little bit of strategy because some people will have a kicker that can consistently kick it out now,” Rodriguez reasoned.

“You’ll probably have to spend a little more time now on kickoffs and kickoff returns. But I don’t think that will affect scoring too much. But it may hamper a little bit of field position early.

“It depends on how high you kick it, and on how well you cover the return.”

Rodriguez said WVU worked on that a little bit this spring in anticipation of the rule change. Further work will begin when training camp opens in August.

Another rule change reduces from 25 to 15 seconds that teams must resume play after media timeouts.

“That’s a rule change that probably will be the most new for the coaches to work on,” Rodriguez surmised. You’ve got to have your team really ready and on the field to resume play.

“I think we’ll be able to adjust to that. But you won’t have as much time to change a play or personnel. Fifteen seconds go by pretty quickly.”

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