Good Old Platoon Rule Days

Columbia football mentor Lou Little, chairman of the Coaches' Rules Committee, with the close of the season mailed out the annual questionnaires to the nation's coaches concerning regulation changes; and despite the recent hubbub about fate injuries, by far the major issue is the substitution rule.

Although militantly opposed to the present restrictions on substitution, Chairman Little stated, "I'll fight to keep the rule if it's what the coaches want."

Two coaches who have already gone on record as not wanting it are Villanova's Art Raimo and Princeton's Charlie Caldwell. Raimo reported that his travelling squad and expenditures haven't dropped, and he added that although he held an extra 45 minutes of practice a day, "I feel the calibre of the game has declined."

Caldwell emphasized that injuries had increased and were more serious since the two-platoon system was abolished. Raimo agreed with him. Neither coach mentioned that their records had taken a nose-dive since the rule change.

Taking exception to these two is Crimson Coach Lloyd Jordan. Jordan cited five reasons--five very sound reasons--for his stand.

He felt in the first place that "we should give the new rule an ample chance to be proven." One season to him is not a fair trial. Jordan stated he is "a firm believer that you get out of football in proportion to what you put into it: half a football player gets half the benefits." And he added, "By and large, almost as many got to play this season."

Jordan went on, "I do not feel that the injuries were due to the present rule." Frequently, he finds "Injuries are just a matter of luck." The varsity coach then contradicted many opponents of the rule when he commented, "I saw technical perfection this year, and I also saw spirit over and above what we had in two-platoon football."

Jordan also saw "plenty of good crowds." His final reason was that "the people seem to like the new rule." "This isn't based on conservatism," he elaborated. "I'm for change when it's advantageous."

The Crimson mentor is also opposed to any modification in the present system. As Little stated, "There's some talk of modifying the rule to permit a specialist--such as an extra-point kicker or a punter--to go in at any time."

But Jordan wisely pointed out, "That's just appeasement." He felt that once a placement booter was exempted from the rule the coaches would then seek to have the holder immunized, and after that they'd want a special center for extra points and perhaps a new set of guards. To Jordan, there is one-platoon football and two-platoon football, and "there isn't any between."