Fox Sports Southwest plans to expand live coverage of football playoffs

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fox Sports Southwest officials said Tuesday at the Texas High School Coaches Association annual convention that some UIL football state quarterfinal and semifinal games will be televised live in December.

We have a “pretty high level of degree that we’ll have it all worked out,” said senior executive producer Jon Heidtke said.

The regional cable network has televised UIL football title games for years, but rarely any earlier rounds. Heidtke said issues over advance sellouts and team agreements have been the main obstacles.

“This will streamline the process,” he added. “We’ll be able to pick the game and coaches know what’s going to happen.”

Haulin’ the mail

The latest in anti-fumble technology is available at the convention.

Making its debut at the exhibit hall this year was Innocept’s Fumble Pro, a device used to simulate the forces put on a ball that a ball carrier experiences during a run.

The Fumble Pro is a regulation-sized football with a Kevlar rope at one end, and a slide-weighted handle at the other end. A teammate, or coach, yanks the handle while the runner tries to avoid a turnover.

The device attracted the attention of many coaches from around the state, and the curiosity of a few who tried it out for themselves.

Fumble Pro staffers said they recently made a sale to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

A busy man

West ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford took some time out of his hectic summer schedule to attend Monday’s All-Star basketball game because guard Erran Mays-Shaw was on the South team. An April 17 fertilizer plant explosion killed 15, leveled much of the town and destroyed three of four school buildings.

Crawford said school would begin Aug. 26, as planned, in a cluster of temporary buildings locals have dubbed “Portable City.”

“We’re going through a lot of demolition right now,” Crawford said. “Once we get everything knocked down we’ll start getting temporary facilities in place for our kids.”

Adios Cowtown

The coaches’ convention won’t return to Fort Worth anytime soon.

San Antonio will host the event in 2014, ’16 and ’18. Houston gets it in 2015 and ’17. The convention hasn’t been in Houston since 2004, and association officials said Houston coaches lobbied to get back in the rotation.

Ruling on the field

The NCAA, and in turn the UIL, which regularly uses NCAA rules for football, simplified the rules for blocking below the waist. The rule allows players in an area slightly larger than the tackle box unrestricted blocking below the waist and players outside this area the ability to block below the waist as long as it is directly in front of the opposing player.

New rules also keep players downfield from turning around and blocking back toward the line of scrimmage below the waist.

A few other new rules:

• Players who engage in post-whistle pushing and shoving will be given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties instead of just offsetting fouls. As has been the case, two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a game results in ejection.

• Beginning last season, players whose helmets fell off during a play had to sit out a play before they were eligible to play again. This season, coaches can buy that player back in by burning a timeout.

• On a play that starts the game clock on the snap, teams will be unable to spike the ball if the play begins with 2 seconds or less on the clock.

• On the fashion side of football, numbers on jerseys must contrast the base color of the jersey and no dark-tinted glasses or goggles can be worn under helmets.

Staff writer Eric Zarate and correspondents Travis L. Brown and Christian Clark contributed to this report.

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