College football officials say they moved kickoffs back to the 30-yard line in order create more return opportunities and reduce the downtime following a score.
Iowa State’s Josh Griebahn offers a more sinister explanation.
“I think they pick on us,” Griebahn said, referring to the kicking fraternity. “Goal posts used to be on the goal line, guys used to kick off a block…and now they’ve moved (kickoffs) back.”
Griebahn will be among the first kickers nationally to deal with the change when Iowa State hosts Kent State in a season-opener Thursday night at Jack Trice Stadium.
The result is expected to reduce the number of times a kicker boots the ball into the end zone, enabling offenses to start with better field position.
“For us, we’re excited about it,” said Robert McFarland, the Cyclones’ offensive coordinator. “We’re no longer going to start on the 20. You know you’re going to get something better than that, because you’re going to return just about everything that comes.”
Scoring will likely increase, but some express concerns about a greater number of injuries.
“The kickoff is probably the most violent play in football,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “You’re talking about guys getting a 40-50 yard head start before you go in there and blow up a wedge.
“That is something that’s probably going to need to be monitored.”
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