Kansas working on replacing false starts with better football smarts
Since he took on the monumental challenge of trying to turn around the Kansas football program, David Beaty stated the goal of his team being the smartest in America. By that, he means not turning it over and not piling up undisciplined penalties. So far, not so good.
In the 56-34 loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 opener, both KU starting guards, junior Andru Tovi and sophomore Chris Hughes, both of whom received plaudits for their run-blocking, were flagged for a pair of false-start penalties.
How did that happen?
“There is a rule in our rulebook that you're not able to simulate the snap on the other side of the field,” Beaty said. “You're not able to simulate a snap count.”
But if you walk up to the border of what’s considered simulating a snap count by shifting bodies and yelling instructions to each other in such a way as to sound a little like a snap count, you can get away with it without drawing a flag. If you’re really skilled at it, it might even result in a flag on a fooled offensive lineman.
“There's a lot of philosophy across the country defensively of shifting and moving and there can be some times where you're shifting and moving and you're seeing things and it could be something that's very close to being illegal,” Beaty said. “It's been happening quite a bit, right? I wouldn't say that I'm upset with the way that it's been called, but it's a challenge, and the thing is, we work on that. There is no excuse. We know that the philosophy across the country is people want to do that to try to draw you off and we're not going to make excuses because we work that. We work shift calls, we work move calls all the time, because we know that's absolutely something that happens.”
In short, defenses have been smarter than KU’s offensive linemen in working around the borders of the rulebook.
“It all comes down to that. When those guys come off and we talk to them about what caused it, it's communication on the other side of the ball,” Beaty said. “It's sudden movement, communications that are happening and we know it, and we work it. It shouldn't happen.”
The Kansas O-linemen are marked men now, so opponents no doubt will look to turn up the deceptive practice of simulating a snap count subtly.
"Every team we play does it," Beaty said. "You'll see them shifting and moving all the time. I would imagine after they see something like that, I would do it. But (Texas Tech defensive coordinator David) Gibbs, he's going to do it. Three-down front, four-down front. It's a common way to do it. But people across the country are all dealing with the same thing, and they're not jumping off sides. No excuse. We've got to be more disciplined, right?"