In the NFL, coaches have the ability to communicate with quarterbacks and a few defensive players via wireless radios but in college, for whatever reason, communication is restricted to hand signals and yelling at the top of your lungs. The way Pat Narduzzi sees it, it’s 2015 and the technology is clearly there to use, so college football should follow step up and follow suit.
Narduzzi’s biggest reason for calling improved communication stems from a concern with teams stealing signals, especially coming from the defensive side of things.
“If you’re the offensive coordinator, you send the play in and I don’t know if it’s a real play or a fake play,” he told the Orlando Sentinel. “I’ve got to send my defense in there. I have no choice, I’ve got to give the real defense – I can’t give them a fake defense.”
“As your sitting up in the box and you’re watching me put my play in, you know it’s real, it ain’t fake. How many different signals do you have? I put my play in and you get to a chance to look and say, ‘He just did that signal again and last time they blitzed. Now the offense looks to the sidelines and gets something good for that blitz.”
Back in February the NCAA rules committee announced plans to try out some new technology including different forms of wireless communication and helmet cams,. A few months ago, Air Force head coach and NCAA rules committee chairman Troy Calhoun stated that the committee is open to exploring ways to improve sideline communication, as long as the playing field remains level.
“This far into the 21st century to have the technology that we know is available, we want to make sure it’s molded in way which is very helpful in college football without creating a huge imbalance when it’s time to go compete.” Calhoun stated back in February. Several conferences proposed experimenting with the technology at five or six December bowl games this next bowl cycle.
Helmet cameras that would allow coaches (and probably eventually TV audiences) to experience what players are seeing on the field were also discussed in depth at those committee meetings back in February, but for now, Narduzzi would settle for the coach-to-player communication to be improved.
Overall, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a majority of coaches – on either side of the ball – opposed to improving sideline communication because who wouldn’t want a direct line of communication with players pre and post snap? Seems like the benefits far outweigh any red flags, as long as the playing field is level.