Football coaches offer rule changes if they were in charge

Some high school football coaches have suggested that allowing scrimmages in the spring would help raise funds for athletics in the tough economy.

It's not a new idea. Until the late 1980s, the GHSA permitted teams to participate in a jamboree at the end of spring football practice.

"Having a true spring game where you are playing another team would add something significant to spring ball and give everyone something to work toward," Walton coach Rocky Hildago said.

It makes some sense from an economical standpoint. Football pays a lot of bills in many athletic programs. A spring scrimmage, especially against a rival school, may generate a lot of interest and ticket sales.

"I think for fundraising purposes, the one rule I would change is to allow schools to play a real spring game by playing a different opponent," Creekside coach Johnny White said.

"My only rule would be that it cannot be any team that will be on the fall schedule. I think the fans would enjoy football in the spring and you could get some great matchups."

When asked about the possibility of a spring scrimmage, GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said, "A lot of coaches are toning down spring practices, not ramping it up. I would have concerns if the kids would be in football condition for an interscholastic scrimmage, among other questions."

Spring scrimmages were a hot topic when we asked coaches what football rule they would change if they had the power to do it. Here are some of the other answers:

Miller Grove's Damien Wimes: I hate the celebration rule, and I will tell you why. You can celebrate without being disrespectful. I think celebration rules in all levels of football have gone too far. It takes some of the fun out of the football game. As long as there is no profanity used or no taunting toward the opposing sidelines, I don't see what's wrong with it. You have a few players jumping up together in the end zone and it's a flag? I don't like that.

Centennial's Jeff Measor: I think GHSA should figure out a way to make Class AAAAA more equitable. There has to be a better way to do it than having 1,900 student schools playing 3,000-student schools in the playoffs. Last year we played North Gwinnett, and they were a Class AAA school bigger than we are. It puts us at a tremendous disadvantage when we get to the state level.

Lassiter's Jep Irwin: It would be administering offensive holding from the spot of the foul. I would have the penalty marked off from the previous spot if it occurs in the offensive backfield, but from the spot of the foul if it occurs past the line of scrimmage.

Sandy Creek's Chip Walker: I am not a big fan of the new overtime procedure where you put it on the 15-yard line and go at it. I liked the previous way that included all aspects of football, including the kicking game. If you're a team that has a good kicking game, you're kind of at a disadvantage with this new overtime procedure, whereas in the old there was some strategy to it. You kicked off, you punted, you did all of those things. In 2000, I [was an assistant at Sandy Creek] and we went down to Shaw [for the second round of the playoffs]. We kicked off at the start of first half, second half, and the start of both overtime periods. We elected to do that because we were both really good on defense and neither one was good on offense. We wanted to kick it down there deep, hold them, make them punt and get good field position. And that worked for us. It was a good strategy. We ended up losing 8-7 [because of penetration], and they ended being state champions that year. I know the old way was hard for some fans to understand. But I thought it showed a total football game.