How would you change high school football?
Before the start of every football season, the Florida High School Athletic Association sends an email to the state’s high school sports reporters detailing rule changes for that season.
This year, the email included changes to the playoff point system, changes to postponed and interrupted contests, and changes to the structure of the 1A through 4A playoffs, which you can see in detail here.
Flagler Palm Coast’s Travis Roland said he would love to give his kids more opportunities to return the football. He was in favor of abolishing the FHSAA’s rule that prohibits kick returners from running the ball out of their own end zone.
“These kids would love to take a kick back 109 yards if their coach gives them the freedom to do so,” he said.
In addition, throwing the ball away in almost every form in high school is currently against the rules. Seabreeze’s Troy Coke said he’d like to see the rule changed to where a quarterback only has to get outside the pocket and then throw the ball past the line of scrimmage.
The goal is the safety of the player, which seems to be the central argument to most rule changes.
Which brings me to the opinions of these next two coaches. Both wanted to change a rule regarding the same topic, but both went very different directions.
Matanzas’ first-year head coach Don Mathews was in favor of changing the rule that doesn’t allow contact for more than two consecutive practice days.
“As long as you are not having guys line up and hitting 20 yards apart, you should be able to have contact every day,” he said. “Close-quarter contact is the best thing to do for timid kids. Over time, hitting each other from no more than 3 yards apart actually builds their confidence to be more aggressive.”
Spruce Creek’s Andy Price wants less player-to-player contact during practice, citing potential long-term effects of daily head-to-head contact.
“I think it would be better for the kids.”