Swinney: Small rule change could have big impact

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was standing in the hallway of the Ritz-Carlton, talking to some reporters following the conclusion of the ACC spring meetings when ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads walked by.

"Did I hear you right in there? That you don't have to have six on the line?" Swinney asked Rhoads.

Rhoads started to answer yes, but Swinney interrupted.

"Do you realize we lost to Georgia Tech, 10-9, at Georgia Tech three years ago and we lost to Maryland?" he said. "It's not y'all's fault, it's our fault, but we throw a touchdown pass against Georgia Tech, a 50-yard touchdown pass and don't have a tight end in the game."

Rhoads pointed out that Virginia lost one to Georgia Tech the same way, where they made a substitution but didn't have the tight end in.

"I've always thought that if you score with 10, they ought to give you extra points," Swinney said, smiling. "That's always been my philosophy."

As long as coaches have no more than four in the backfield and five linemen numbered correctly, they're OK. Before, coaches had to have seven on the line and four in the backfield, but it didn't make sense to penalize teams for playing with less than 11 players on the field.

Rhoads said there were three times last year when ACC officials took points off the board on a field goal or took a score back for playing with 10. It happens as a result of miscommunication on substitutions, and usually happens with the tight end.

"It's one thing when you just run a play," Swinney said, "but both of those games, we scored touchdowns, Maryland and Georgia Tech."

This year, those touchdowns will count.