How does Texas Tech football OC Zach Kittley feel about in-helmet communications?

A number of college football coaches got a taste of in-helmet communications during the 2023 bowl season. Soon, the rule could be implemented across the country.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel is set to vote on a number of issues Thursday, the most notable of which is implementing the communication system throughout football. The NCAA allowed non-College Football Playoff teams to be guinea pigs for the system back in December, hoping to get feedback for the potential rule change.

In March, the NCAA Football Rules Committee officially brought the proposal to the table. After spending some time with the setup during the Texas Tech football team's Independence Bowl win over Cal, offensive coordinator Zach Kittley is in favor it it becoming permanent.

ON THE INJURY FRONT: Return date projected for Texas Tech football's Behren Morton, Micah Hudson, Jalin Conyers

"I think it's good for the game," Kittley said Monday. "I love it. The quarterbacks like it. It'll help take some of the signaling away and some of that stuff that people steal signals. For us, I think it just speeds up the game at the quarterback position."

According to the rule proposed by the committee, one player from each team would be able to have the helmet communication system, allowing coaches to speak directly to the players. Communications would be turned off with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock, or when the ball the snapped. Players with the comms would be identified by a green dot on the back of their helmets.

The NCAA allowing bowl participants to use these helmet comms became more noteworthy in October when Michigan was under investigation for illegal in-person scouting of future opponents to aid in sign stealing. The rule had been approved in last summer, before the Wolverines were under the microscope. Members of the rules committee insist that Michigan is not at the heart of the decision to move forward with the proposal.

During the Independence Bowl, quarterback Behren Morton manned the comms on offense while linebacker Jacob Rodriguez and safeties C.J. Baskerville and Dadrion Taylor-Demerson were equipped on defense.

Kittley said Tech's use of the technology during spring practice hasn't cut communication off at the 15-second mark of the play clock, like it would during a regular game. He's not concerned about how much time there would be left when he's cut off from Morton, though.

More: Joey McGuire discusses Texas Tech football portal plans

"One area where we can help us offensively," Kittley said, "is typically I try to get the play call in pretty early. Especially if you can get that play call in early and try to see the defense, you can give them some pointers."

Much like his concerns during the bowl game, Kittley said he's still tweaking the balance of helping the quarterback and allowing the players to see things for themselves. He added that the team will continue to use signal boards on the sidelines in addition to the helmet comms.

"You have to have your personnel package to know who's on the field," Kittley said. "You're gonna have to have your formation boards and formation guys and some of that stuff to make sure you're lined up. You're gonna have both, and that's gonna be more for personnel and formations. The play call itself will go straight to the headset to the QB."

Texas Tech's offensive coordinator Zach Kittley adjusts his hat during a spring football practice, Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Sports Performance Center.
Texas Tech's offensive coordinator Zach Kittley adjusts his hat during a spring football practice, Thursday, March 21, 2024, at Sports Performance Center.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech football OC Kittley approves of in-helmet communications