From the Pressbox: Monday

Aug 11, 2008 - Posted by Jeff Reynolds on August 11, 2008 at 9:56 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm

Countdown to Kickoff

Morning Devotional

Following a musical number, "Nearer My God to Thee" by James Connelly, quarterback Brenden Gaskins talked to the team about agency.

Gaskins quoted Elaine Cannon from her 1983 Ensign article titled, "Agency and Accountability."

"We are responsible for our own actions and accountable to God for what we choose to do with our lives."

Gaskins expounded on Cannon's article telling his teammates that it was important to understand that we are all responsible for our own actions, and in order to understand that, we have to understand that we have a choice. He said we have all been given gifts and it is our responsibility to act upon those gifts, and not to be acted upon.

Quarterback Max Hall also addressed the team, quoting LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson.

"We do not know when we will be required to leave this mortal existence. And so I ask,'What are we doing with today?' If we live only for tomorrow, we’ll eventually have a lot of empty yesterdays. Have we been guilty of declaring, 'I’ve been thinking about making some course corrections in my life. I plan to take the first step—tomorrow'? With such thinking, tomorrow is forever. Such tomorrows rarely come unless we do something about them today."

Hall challenged his teammates to make choices today as if today was their last. He said, "Whatever we do today, our church callings, work, practice, or whatever it is, do it as best as you can today so that you don't have any empty yesterdays."

Rules Changes

With just over under three weeks before our first game, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the major rules changes for the upcoming season.

1. Player Safety

Helmet Crown and Defenseless Player Rule: It is now a foul when a player targets an opponent and initiates contact with the top of his helmet. Interestingly, this rule is designed to protect the player making the contact. As part of this rule, it is also a foul if a player targets a defenseless opponent and initiates contact above the shoulders. Each of these are personal-foul penalties and pack a 15-yard punch.

Chop Block: The revision of this rule simplifies the definition and is intended to encourage more consistent officiating. A chop block is defined as a high-low or low-high combination block by any two players against an opponent (except the ball carrier) anywhere on the field, with or without delay between contacts. The low component is at the opponent's thigh or below. Like the Helmet Crown rule, this personal foul carries a 15-yard penalty.

Horse Collar Tackle: This is a new rule that addressed the potential hazard to a ball carrier that is grabbed by the inside collar of the jersey or shoulder pad and quickly jerked down. The rule disallows players from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the runner down. This does not apply to a runner who is inside the tackle box or to a quarterback who is in the pocket. A key element to this rule is the immediacy of the runner being pulled down. This is another 15-yard penalty.

Face Mask Foul: There is no longer a penalty if any player grabs an opponent's face mask without pulling, twisting, or turning it. The five-yard, incidental face mask rule has been eliminated. A 15-yard penalty will be assessed if a player pulls, twists, or turns an opponents face mask.

2. Timing

40-Second Play Clock

The 40-second play clock represents a major change in the timing of the game and will impact how the game looks and flows. The purpose of this change is to enhance the consistency of how soon the ball is ready for play once it has become dead. In the past, the play clock was set at 25 seconds and started on the referee's signal on every play. Now, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds after the ball becomes dead on every play and started immediately. In circumstances when the officials stop the game clock for administrative and other reasons, the play clock will be set to 25 seconds and started on the referee's signal in the familiar manner. The 25-second clock will be in effect for:

1. Penalty administration.

2. Charged team timeout.

3. Media timeout.

4. Injury timeout.

5. Measurement.

6. Change of possession.

7. Following a kick.

8. Score.

9. Start of each period.

10. Start of a team's series in extra period.

11. Instant replay review.

12. Other administrative stoppage.

Also, the committee has eliminated the 15-second play clock which was used following television timeouts.

Ball Out Of Bounds

When a ball is carried or fumbled out of bounds, the game clock will stop, as always. Beginning in 2008 the game clock will start on the referee's signal when the ball is ready for play, not on the snap. In the last two minutes of the half, however, the clock will start on the snap as before, preserving the ability of the offensive team to maximize strategic use of the clock.

3. Instant Replay

Reviewable Plays

The new rules expand the range of plays for which the replay official may stop the game to review. These include certain field goal attempts, plays where the ball carrier is ruled down and a loose ball is immediately recovered, and plays where the ball carrier is ruled out of bounds when he immediately carries the ball across the goal line.

Field Goal Attempts

A field goal attempt may be reviewed only if the ball is ruled below or above the crossbar, or inside or outside the uprights when it is lower than the top of the uprights. If the ball is higher than the top of the uprights, the play may not be reviewed.

Ball Carrier Ruled Down

When a ball carrier is judged down by rule and the ball is fumbled, the play may be reviewed if the recovery of the ball occurs in the immediate action following the fumble and is prior to any official signaling that the ball is dead. However, if the replay official does not have indisputable video evidence as to which player recovers the fumble, the ruling of down-by-rule stands. If the call of down-by-rule is reversed, the ball belongs to the recovering player at the spot of the recovery and no advance is allowed.

Ball Carrier Ruled Down Near The Goal Line

When a ball carrier is ruled out of bounds, the play may be reviewed if his immediate action takes him into the opponent's end zone and is prior to any official signaling that the ball is dead.

Head Coach's Challenge

A new rule expands the ability of a head coach to challenge a reviewable ruling on the field. The head coach now retains a challenge if his initial challenge is successful and thus results in a reversal by the replay official. The coach will then still have a single challenge that he may use anytime during the game if his team has not used all its timeouts. Thus a team may have a total of two challenges in the game, but only if the first results in a reversal of the on-field ruling.

4. Game Administration.

Sideline Infraction

The committee has changed the rule regarding sideline personnel being in the restricted area, which is between the sideline and the coaching box. The former sideline warning has given way to a sideline infraction which carries an immediate yardage penalty. The first two infractions have a five-yard delay of game penalty, and the third and subsequent violations now carry a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Obtaining Opponent's Signals

The rules now prohibit any attempt to record, either by video or audio means, the signals given by an opposing player, coach, or other team personnel. Violations should be brought to the attention of the proper disciplinary authority.

To watch an informational video on the rules changes, complete with game footage that demonstrates the new rules, click here..

Injury Update

I hate writing about injuries ... especially when I'm about to write that things are going well on the injury front.

Linebacker Matt Bauman returned to practice today and competed in all drills except for the team drill at the end of practice. He said he hopes to be ready to compete through practice by Wednesday.

His scooter, however, hasn't been so quick to recover. Bauman reported he lost a mirror and suffered some cosmetic damage to his scooter that has yet to be repaired. Whether his scooter will be ready to go is going to be a game-time decision.

Austin Collie hit the underwater treadmill this evening with team trainer Kevin Morris keeping a watchful eye. Morris said the underwater treadmill will allow Collie to run with about 20 percent of his body weight on his leg.

He said that for a stress fracture its good to have a little weight on the injury so that through minimal amounts of stress on the bone, it will force blood to the site.

Morris said they will increase his workouts on a day-by-day basis and see where he is after Wednesday of this week.

"He's getting better," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I expect him to be ready for our first game. I don't think there's any risk he won't be ready for our opener, but I' not going to practice him until I know he's ready."

Safety David Tafuna will sit out the next few days due to a concussion he sustained during Saturday's scrimmage. Morris said Tafuna will be evaluated on a daily basis and his status is day-to-day at this point.

"There's a certain amount of time that has to pass, as well as a few tests," Mendenhall said. "He'll be back when he completes that protocol to the satisfaction of our medical staff."

Evening Practice Photos

The play of the evening was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brenden Gaskins to Landon Jaussi. After making a nice grab, Jaussi was going ...

... going ...

... going ...

... going ...

Gone!

Morning Practice Photos