The Mark Miller Report: Rules and other thoughts

I just have a few random thoughts to share this week.

We have all learned that the NCAA is considering a couple of rule changes for next season. The first one is merely a tweak to the “targeting rule” that would also overturn the 15-yard penalty if the player’s ejection is overruled by instant replay. I bemoaned this particular problem with the original rule when we first learned about it, even before we saw this play out on the field. My question now is how in the world did this obvious aspect of the rule escape those that designed the rule originally? This should not have taken two tries to get it right.

The other rule change, of course, is the ridiculous effort to slow down up-tempo offenses by forcing the offense to wait ten seconds after the ball is marked to snap. The claim is that this is being considered on the basis of safety. There is no evidence that the pace of the offense in and of itself causes any more injuries. The only real basis for a safety consideration here would be a claim that fewer plays means fewer injuries. If that is the concern, there are ways to fix that without handcuffing coaches who have taken advantage of this great new innovation to the game. Why not just cut the quarters from 15 minutes to 12 minutes each and let them run whatever offense they want? I think we all know the answer to that. It doesn’t fix Nick Saban’s inability to stop up-tempo offenses.

Which brought me to this next little bit of musing. I think this rule change would actually help the SEC as a whole. One of the reasons that these fast-paced offenses have become so popular is that it can be a huge benefit for teams with less overall talent. The up-tempo keeps teams loaded with defensive talent from being able to change their personnel to take advantage of their deeper bench and wider talent range. This is why it causes Nicky so much trouble. Alabama has as much defensive talent as anyone in the country and Saban needs to be able to rotate in the right players for down and distance. Take a look at this year’s recruiting class rankings. Is there any question as to which conference has the most talent? The SEC dominated this year in recruiting like it does virtually every year. Therefore, by simple deduction, any rule change that benefits the teams with the most talent should benefit the SEC as a whole as much as it benefits Saban personally.

Troubled Georgia Bulldog Josh Harvey-Clemons has been booted from the UGA football team. I know Gator fans remember Josh as his bizarre recruitment involved Florida. After twice skating when other Bulldog players got in trouble in his presence, Harvey-Clemons has had a rash of drug related issues leading to two different multiple game suspensions. Finally, head coach Mark Richt was forced to send him packing. Gator fans should take a deep breath and be thankful Josh did not end up in Gainesville. Who knows how many other players would have gotten into trouble hanging out with him?

This is one of the reasons I have been so tolerant of Will Muschamp to this point. He had some behavioral issues to deal with when he arrived at UF which helped create the depth issues that have come back to plague him.

The win over Kentucky in Rupp Arena was a pleasure to witness. I have a distinct disdain for John Calipari and his methods. I fully enjoyed watching him pout and squirm courtside on Saturday. There is no real excuse now to not take this Gator basketball team seriously. Yes, they have stretches where they appear to struggle but they do not panic or start pressing. They believe that if they continue to do the things that got them to this lofty position things will work out in the end. Things continue to work out just fine for them. These Gators are the very definition of “team.” When one or two struggle, others step up and make the plays needed. I still think they will lose a regular season game before it is over, but I really don’t think that matters.  They just need to get as high a seed as possible for the Big Dance and try to be healthy and somewhat rested when the time comes.

I don’t know how many of you pay attention to softball but the Gator ladies are currently 12-0 and ranked #1 in the country. They have won those 12 games by a combined score of 109-19. I believe that qualifies as dominating the competition. Do not pass up the opportunity to watch these Gators play.

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Mark Miller
Mark Miller's bravery knows no limits. He's a Gator living deep in the heart of Georgia. Mark's weekly columns appear in the Coosa Valley News in Rome, Georgia, where Gators are few and Bulldogs are many. His updates about football and life among the heathens will appear in Gator Country on a weekly basis.


  1. I refuse to watch women play team sports, it just reminds me how inferior the quality is. I’ll watch women play tennis. Other than that, no way. I won’t watch golf regardless, Track and field and figure skating I’ll watch, but they’re not really team sports I was in awe over the ability of the young Russian female figure skater this year, but please don’t ask me to watch females play softball or basketball, yeech!.