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Pac-12 coaches love college football’s new redshirt rule

Players can now appear in up to four games and still redshirt

Pac 12 Championship - Stanford v USC Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The NCAA implemented a new rule this offseason that allows players to appear in up to four games and still redshirt.

The four games do not have to be consecutive, either. Previously, a player could not redshirt if he played in just one game (unless there was an injury involved).

Unsurprisingly, the rule change is a big hit among Pac-12 coaches. Here is what some of them had to say about it at Wednesday’s media day, and how they plan to implement it.

Oregon’s Mario Cristobal: “It is a game changer. We love it. But at the same time, we don’t want to let it affect the dynamic of our football team. We don’t want playing time to be something, hey, you can redshirt, let’s just play you. I think that would destroy your locker room. I think playing time is something that is earned, rightfully so.

“But this redshirt rule allows for so many things. The one that sticks out to me as the season goes on, guys develop. I know everybody wants to play as a freshman, but football is still a developmental game. The most developmental game that there is.

“So as guys develop or guys down the line get injured and guys have developed to play and be good enough to play, now those opportunities are used. They’re taken advantage of without costing that young man a full year, if he hasn’t played more than four games.

“So we’ve been pushing for it forever. It’s genius, in my opinion, to be able to do that. Now, it does create a roster management issue because your roster contained guys that maybe you planned on being there four years, now they’re there five years. It’s our version of the salary cap. The NFL has the salary cap. We have the 85 plus 25 initials, right. That’s inclusive in that 85. So you have to do a better job from a roster management standpoint.”

Stanford’s David Shaw: “I’m really excited about this new rule and what it can do for young people. This is not just for my benefit and the coaches’ benefit, this is for the benefit of the young people. Because what happens very often in three quick scenarios, number one, a young man comes in and he’s really good and playing really well, and you’re excited to play him. He gets out on the field, and he doesn’t play as well. So now you don’t burn that red-shirt. You can decide after a couple game he’s not really ready, and you can pull him back and still reserve that year. ...

“We had a couple defensive back injuries last year, and Paulson Adebo, who redshirted last year as a true freshman, by the end of the year, this kid was ready to play, but do you really burn a redshirt year for the last four games of the year, where he really could have came in and helped us, would have been outstanding, but nobody makes that decision unless you absolutely have to. So now all three of those scenarios are going to work out for the benefit of these young people.

“So we can go out and finish the season with the young guy, let him play the in bowl game if he’s shown he’s ready to play, and still be able to come back and have four full good years to play the sport.”

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham: “I think the new redshirt rule is a huge positive for the players. I think it was a great decision by the NCAA. There is a lot of conversation that’s taken place and will continue to take place of how to use the new redshirt rule, because you can use any four games. It can be up front, at the end, mixed in between.

“I think it really boils down to the position group. If you get a position group that is loaded and you don’t think you’re necessarily going to get to one of those freshmen, you might put him in a game where it gets out of hand where you can get him some experience; whereas if you’ve got a position group that’s thin and you need to rely on that guy at some point, you want every bullet that you can to be able to utilize him to help your team win.

“So I don’t think there’s anybody that’s got an exact formula on how to use it right now, but I think the biggest criteria is where you are as a position group with that kid.”