Athens — Georgia coach Mark Richt says the new 40-second play-clock rule being implemented in college football this season came about seven years too late.
“I’m kind of jealous at the timing of it, to tell you the truth,” Richt said last week. “It didn’t really hit when I needed it.”
When Richt brought his fat playbook from Florida State in 2001, he wanted his offense to move quickly from one play to the next. But two years later he abandoned that strategy out of frustration with SEC game officials, who were slow to whistle the ball ready to play until the defensive players had moved into position.
“In my opinion the officials here were even more deliberate than anywhere else I’d been,” Richt said. “The SEC was grinding it to a halt.”
That won’t be the case under the new rule, which was adopted by the NCAA from the NFL this season in an effort to speed up games. The old rule featured a 25-second clock that couldn’t start until the referee signalled. The new rule has a 40-second clock that will start as soon as the umpire places the ball on the ground and steps away.
The NCAA expects games that averaged three hours, 22 minutes last season to be completed in closer to three hours without reducing the number of plays run.