College Lacrosse Rule Proposals: Restarts

The NCAA Men's Lacrosse Rules Committee made a bunch of rules recommendations last week. I'll write words about them; you read those words about them; we'll all have a sandwich afterwards and remember the great time we had writing and reading words about rules. Also, Mike LaFontaine is our spirit guide.

HEY! WHA' HAPPENED?

This is the kind of organic rule modification that I have been screaming about. (I've been doing my screaming about these kinds of things in the shower, so you probably didn't hear it. And if you did hear me screaming about it in the shower, you're a creepy stalker and you need a different hobby.) As part of the committee's rule proposals, provisions were put into place to push quicker restarts. Here's the meat:

  • Officials are now directed to restart play with quickness. Pertinently, if an opposing player is within five yards of the player that has been awarded the bean, the whistle should blow and play should immediately begin. The opposing player is not allowed to defend the ball until he reaches a distance of five yards from the opponent. If the opposing player violates this restriction, the official will signal a violation and throw a flag for delay of game. There is an exception to this quick restart rule when the offensive team is awarded the ball in the attack area: Play will be restarted anywhere outside the attack area and the offensive team is responsible for moving the ball outside of the attack box for the restart.
  • To dovetail the last point, officials are instructed to be as deliberate as possible with the exact location of the violation. An unfair distance advantage gained by the possessing team must occur to delay the restart.
  • Goalies are no longer permitted to stroll without a care in the world back to the cage: The five-second grace period formerly granted to keepers (and exploited by the same group) is totally eliminated regardless of restart position.

Now this is living.

More after the jump.

I CAN'T DO MY WORK!

So, who's totally screwed with these proposed rules? Here are some initial assumptions:

  • Goalies are obviously going to need to reassess their role in backing-up errant shots and sauntering their way back into the crease. The win rate on goalie back-up has never been pronounced -- it's most useful in failed transition opportunities or when opposing offenses attack from "X" and don't rotate a body back behind the crease to ensure possession -- but it was useful to try and steal a possession and, at a minimum, give an opportunity for his six field players to get a quick rest and re-mark their opponents or allow his coaches to run through a special substitution.
  • Pure specialists are somewhat screwed with the quick restart rule, and that's only because they've had their skills restricted in college (and in some cases in high school). Everyone at the collegiate level should have, to some degree, both offensive and defensive capability. Getting "trapped" at either end of the field is part of the game and the quick restart rule could expose some of these limited all-around skills. That isn't necessarily a bad thing for the game, but it is potentially a tough position for these players. The overall benefit -- a more flowing game -- is worth exposing some of these skill deficiencies. And, of course, everyone can work on their attributes throughout the fall to make sure these deficiencies are mitigated.

THAT'S RIGHT!

So, who's throwing a party with a petting zoo in recognition of these proposed rules? Here are some initial assumptions:

  • Denver's former head coach -- Jamie Munro -- hit the nail on the head:

    Finally. Those teams that have developed two-way guys (or those that haven't as of yet and have instead chosen to create mercenary specialists) now have a motivation to let these guys streak the field and push the game away from guys dashing directly to the substitution box. Teams with pure athletes -- both at the long-stick and short-stick midfield position -- now have greater capacity to create four-on-three, five-on-four, and other imbalanced rushes to the offensive end on a quick restart. While this may hurt some pure specialists, it allows these kids -- that have likely wanting to go two-way for so long to show off their skills -- to make the magic happen. It also turns the flow of play into a player's game rather than a coach's game, which is just spectacular.
  • Teams with depth should see this as a huge advantage. This doesn't necessarily mean that a team needs lots of two-way midfielders, but that they can shuttle competent guys in and out of the game (on the fly, which I'll get to later this week) and try and control the impact of quick restarts. Programs with sharp coaches that run the substitution box and that have enough depth to handle a quicker pace of play should benefit greatly from the quick restart rule.

Those are my thoughts. The comments are yours to make the Internet full of your thoughts.

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