EXCLUSIVELY to Monday's Chalktalk Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

In two previous columns we have looked at the headline rule changes—automatic disqualification for “targeting” fouls and significant changes to blocking below the waist.  Here are a couple more changes for 2013--new rules that involve the game clock.

Helmet Off:  Player May Remain in the Game Via a Timeout

            As a player safety measure last year the rule was made to require a player to leave the game for one down if his helmet came off through play except as the direct result of a foul by an opponent.  The rule was modestly successful, as the number of helmets coming off trended down as the season progressed.  This year the committee relaxed the rule slightly, in this regard:  If a team is granted a charged timeout, the player whose helmet came off during the previous play may remain in the game.  The team is then faced with a choice of losing that player for one down or burning a timeout.  The timeout should allow time for adjusting the player’s helmet without costing him playing time.  It will also allow the team to keep from losing a key player at a critical part of the game, if they would prefer to spend the timeout.

Injury Timeout: 10-Second Runoff

            The rules committee has become concerned that there may be instances where teams have attempted to manipulate the clock by the feigning of injuries.  Starting in 2013, if the clock is stopped at the end of a down only because of an injured player, the other team has the option of a 10-second runoff.  This would not apply if the clock is stopped for any other reason—such as a first down or incomplete pass.  And, of course, there will be no 10-second runoff if there are injuries to players of both teams on the same play.