NCAA Misguided in Attempt to Slow College Football

By Kyle Rowland on February 17, 2014 at 9:15a
69 Comments

College football has never been more popular. TV contracts have skyrocketed and ratings are as high as they’ve ever been. Only the NFL eclipses college football’s 24-hour, 365-day a year news cycle. And now, the NCAA may institute a rule change that could dramatically change a part of the game that’s contributed to the sport’s growing popularity.

A four-team playoff might not be the only major development surrounding the 2014 season. If passed, it could be a five-yard penalty – delay of game, ironically – if an offense snaps the ball before at least 10 seconds have wound off the 40-second play clock. An exception will be made in the final two minutes of each half, allowing teams to run two-minute offenses that hike the ball as quickly as possible.

As the talk of the sports world centers on a US-Russian Cold War rivalry, at home, coach vs. coach relations are simmering.

“My suggestion is rather than spending a bunch of time coming up with a bunch of really stupid rules, spend that time coaching harder,” Washington State head coach Mike Leach said. “Worry about your own team and try to make your product better rather than trying to change the game so you don’t have to do anything.” 

The loudest voices behind the change are Nick Saban and Bret Bielema. If Ohio State fans needed more ammo to dislike the Mouths of the South, they’ve found them. Incensing not just Buckeye Nation, is that the proposed changes are being done so under the guise of player safety.

Saban, Bielema and others say that substitutions in the first 10 seconds of the play clock would cut down on injuries. Good luck finding many colleagues who will agree. There’s never been a study on the matter and no data exists. Rich Rodriguez, Mike Gundy, Mark Helfrich and Leach have led the chorus of criticism.

“It’s a joke. It’s ridiculous. And what’s most ridiculous,” Rodriguez said, “is did you see what the penalty is going to be called? Delay of game! How is that a delay of game? That’s the ultimate rules committee decision. Make the game slower and call it delay of game.” 

Rogers Redding, national coordinator of officials, said it’s “common sense” that injuries would be minimized with a new set of rules.

“If the food tastes good, don’t change the recipe. We’ve got a good game. Let’s let the fans enjoy it. I just don’t see the sense behind it.”– Art Briles

Coaching philosophies have always differed, but this is the first major outcry in decades. It harkens back to the turn of the century – that’s the 20th century – when Knute Rockne discovered the forward pass on the beaches of Cedar Point. It’s no coincidence that Saban and Bielema are architects of two slow-moving, pro-style offenses. Alabama’s nemesis in recent seasons has been up-tempo teams, with losses to Texas A&M, Auburn and Oklahoma.

Fast-paced, no-huddle offenses have never been more prevalent. They’re even popping up throughout the NFL. It’s become common for colleges to run 80 plays. Texas Tech led the nation last season with an eye-popping 90 plays per game. Points and total yards have also spiked. It’s not a secret – the quickest route (no pun intended) to a national championship, conference title and Heisman Trophy is through a hurry-up offense.

It’s an advantage not dissimilar from having an effective blitzing scheme that rattles offensive lines and quarterbacks. Defenses are permitted to move players prior to the snap while offenses cannot. Speeding up the pace of play flips the script.

“All this tinkering is ridiculous,” Leach said. “I think it deteriorates the game. It’s always been a game of creativity and strategy. So anytime someone doesn’t want to go back to the drawing board or re-work their solutions to problems, then what they do is to beg for a rule. I think it’s disgusting.” 

Where most of the outcry resides is the secrecy of the process. Saban and Bielema, chairman of the American Football Coaches Association, suggested the changes and gave speeches on the matter to the rules committee. When news spread, the coaches who never heard of the proposal were understandably incensed.

When Gus Malzahn phoned SEC rival and Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze about the news, Freeze was dumbfounded.

“I said, ‘Y’all are kidding me. That’s not true,’” he said. At January’s AFCA convention, the suggested alteration was never discussed.

The proposal will meet its fate on March 6 when the playing rules oversight panel votes. It approves new rules more frequently than it denies proposals.

“If the food tastes good, don’t change the recipe,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “We’ve got a good game. Let’s let the fans enjoy it. I just don’t see the sense behind it.”

69 Comments

Comments

Crumb's picture

You misspelled Bielema's name. It's Bert. I thought the days of his doucebagery bothering Ohio State were over when he went south. I was wrong.

 

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+12 HS
bigbadbuck's picture

I feel they are going to get ramped up if anything

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here its a war room

BuckeyeOfTheTiger's picture

his douchebaggery is no longer a regional issue, it is now a national problem.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

+6 HS
FitzBuck's picture

The way ESPN covers the SEC Bert is about to be a Global problem.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+1 HS
NitroBuck's picture

Sad to say that Bert and TuscaLucifer are right in that the rule change will reduce the number of injuries.  The fake injuries in particular will be greatly reduced....

Ferio.  Tego.

+2 HS
Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Funny thing is that this happened against Arkansas.

 

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

+2 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

After this, players will be forced to play in bubble wrap and couch cushions to assist in protecting from injury and further slowing the game.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+8 HS
Unky Buck's picture

And they'll have to give hugs to each other...

 

...

+23 HS
gwalther's picture

When South Park nails it, they nail it. Love that show.

Class of 2008

+5 HS
Doc's picture

Perfect.  What is understood, doesn't need to be discussed.

"Say my name."

+2 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

That is gold.

Imaginary upvote to Mr. Unky Buck

MarkC's picture

Oh, and don't forget no linemen over 300 lbs. I mean, power rushing teams with players that big landing on people...it's a safety issue. You understand, right Bert and Nick?

+2 HS
Youngbuck85's picture

If this passes.... The entire committee should be fired..... First the idiotic and misguided targeting penalties, the over sensitive rules against "showboating" , and now this, just because saban can't defend the spread. Absolute bullshit

+15 HS
d1145fresh's picture

Does anyone think this is going to cause more defensive "too many men on the field" penalties than offensive delay of game (which I agree doesn't make any sense to call it that)? Ohio State usually snaps the ball after 10 seconds but if you give defenses the time to substitute it usually takes more than 10 seconds to get them out their and in position. If I was a D-Coordinator I would keep it as it is right now and I wouldn't sub unless its needed. Teams are going to need to practice hockey like line changes if they want to sub under this rule.

+3 HS
Doc's picture

If the offense can't snap the ball until 10 seconds runs off the play clock, then the defense can't blitz until 5 seconds runs off the game clock after a snap.  Stupid is as stupid does.

"Say my name."

+4 HS
Unky Buck's picture

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi....

...

+16 HS
Doc's picture

Just like in the backyard.

"Say my name."

+2 HS
M Man's picture

Unky Buck yours is my early nominee for comment of the year.

+2 HS
Unky Buck's picture

There are so many people to thank...

 

...

kingjamborah's picture

It is indeed "Bert", Crumb. But also it's his "douchebaggery" that we thought might have gone South with him.

First, why is Bert the co chairman of the American Football Coaches Association? Someone screwed up here. American Douchebag Association, yes. But AFCA? And, come on, is there a man alive outside of Tuscaloosa who isn't sick to the point of vomiting of Nick Saban? The man is shameless. "Oh, I lost two games because I couldn't sub in my oversigned five star Frankenstein monster D linemen who are so huge that they are gassed if they have to play more than three downs IN A ROW! I need more time, damn it. I know what I'll do, I'll wake Bert up and tell him I'll like him if he helps me slow the game way down. I don't care if it's boring as hell to watch a snap and a giant pig pile form and unwind 40 times a game for a 2.5 yard gain. As long as I win EVERY SINGLE GAME and make 2 million more every year. And, well, sure, it's totally safe to have absolutely gigantic SEC D linemen roll off teeny weeny 240 lb RBs after every snap. Nobody ever gets hurt in these pile ups. But, jeez, if you make the players get a little lighter so they can keep up with an up tempo offense? What will happen then? How will I play my 3:4 without a Godzilla nose tackle? You're not going to ask these guys to be in aerobic shape are you? You're not going to ask me to come up with better defensive schemes are you? For christ's sake I just hired Lane Kiffin! I have my hands FULL. This is Alabama. Everyone wants to watch us. ESPN said so. Of course they don't come to the stadium but, hey, they have ESPN. No one wants to watch Baylor or Oklahoma or Auburn or Oregon or Ohio State. They play way too fast."

Hating. Hating. Hating.

 

JammaRamma

+22 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Preach it! 1,000,000 UV's for this

UFM_Renewal

Killer nuts's picture

All this should take is one person to do a study that compares injuries to players when the ball is snapped before 30 on the play clock vs snapped after 30 on the play clock. If there is no difference in injuries then there is no need for the rule, if hurry up offenses increase injuries then the rule should be in place. Simple as that. If you're going to make it about player safety then have some data to support it.

+2 HS
TCOB_6's picture

And if it's going to be about player safety, it should always be about player safety. There shouldn't be an exception within the 2 minutes of each half if player safety is truly the concern. That's like telling a player, "We want to keep you safe first and foremost, but only if it doesn't disrupt a 2 minute offense".

+10 HS
IGotAWoody's picture

Especially since, if this is about player safety, the time when players are most gassed is at the end of each half!

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+2 HS
d5k's picture

If they really want the "best" of both worlds then just stop the clock for 10 seconds after every play in the last 2 minutes and allow defensive subs.

BeijingBucks's picture

The problem is the injury numbers are high... The question I have for you is how many of those are oscar worthy?

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

phxbuck's picture

1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi 3 Mississippi ok you can blitz now!

+2 HS
gwalther's picture

Hey - when are we switching back to the old 11W format? Better layout of articles/material and better compatibility with browsing on the iPhone/iPad. #suggestions

Class of 2008

-1 HS
yrro's picture

Don't know what they're complaining about here. It's obviously possible to stop these hurry up offenses - it just takes different personnel, and a different style of defense.

And really, everyone *else* moving to stop the quick tempo spread should work in Bielema and Saban's favor as heavy pro teams. How much practice do other defenses get against that? How many teams have linebackers that can run with Oregon but also stand up a 260 pound fullback in the hole? How many guys have had to cover more than basic crossing patterns?

I've thought for a while that given the way spread games are going, Wisconsin's offense is the new ticket to success.

 

+2 HS
Killer nuts's picture

I'd say Urban Meyer's power spread is the new ticket to success. Power run game mixed with spread concepts and athletes in space... It's where Wisconsin meets Oregon

+1 HS
d5k's picture

Oklahoma's hybrid offensive game plan against Bama looked kinda like this.

+1 HS
OSUpawn's picture

Teams and coaches put lots of time into running a quick offense.  All the hard work spent getting the offense to the line to make the defense set up is wasted.  You won't be able to quick snap QB sneak on 3 and 1.  I can't believe they would consider a rule that would benefit one coaching style and handicap another. 

I would think defense practice against a quick style offense every time they practice the 2 min. offense. 

Don't hate when you're getting out coached.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Injurie$ my a$$.

Let'$ $low the game for television'$ $ake why don't we.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

+2 HS
Maffro's picture

I love all the comments from the coaches pointing out how ridiculous the rule is; Leach is all over it. Rodriguez is spot on with all of his comments about how when to snap the ball is the offense's inherent advantage, just like how the defense's advantage is moving around as they please prior to the snap. One of my favorite comments was from Larry Fedora, who said something like "so I guess we don't care about player safety in the last two minutes."

+2 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

Amazing what happens when others get SEC speed.

+7 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

The rule is stupid as it is, but to put an exception for 2 minutes or less really makes no sense.  A team may be behind by 2 or 3 scores late in the 3rd quarter/early 4th quarter, and needs to operate in the "2 minute" offense before the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter.  Now they have to wait?  

 

I'm not just against this rule because UFM is the head coach now instead of Tressel, or b/c Bert and Saban are leading the charge to implement the rule.  Football, and any other sport, for that matter, has always been a game of cat and mouse.  Anytime the offense or defense gets a leg up, it's on the other side of the ball to make the adjustments necessary.  Spread offenses in general have affected the game more than the uptempo offenses.  It's caused the defenses to play more on their heals, and closes the talent gap.  

It's funny that Bama struggled this year more than they have in the past few years, and now is when the rule happens to be getting pushed through.  

+4 HS
northcampus's picture

The best defense against a fast-paced offense is a methodical, effective offense that can sustain drives and force the high output offenses (Auburn, Oregon, Texas Tech, Washington State, etc.) to stay on the sidelines.  Saban used to have this.  Now he doesn't, so his desire is to manipulate the rules in the same fashion he has with his roster management tactics, which have allowed him to basically add an additional recruiting class every four years.

If Saban and Bert were so worried about player safety, they wouldn't seek out 300-350 pound defensive lineman who can barely run 10 yards without stopping to gasp for air.  Like Mike Leach said, spend more time coaching and less time advocating for a competitive advantage that only suits those who are suddenly at a disadvantage.

+2 HS
Osurrt's picture

Stupid rule......so what happens when you are down 17 points with 7:30 minutes to go in the 4th quarter....can't run a hurry up as it only applies in the last 2 minutes under the proposed rule....been think again Bert after looking at your stellar 2013 performance.

+1 HS
45OH4IO's picture

Can someone insert GIFs of players faking injuries last year and put underneath it "Think about the CHILDREN!!"

That would get my Monday off to a good start.

+2 HS
JYBUCKEYE's picture

Think about the children!!

 

+13 HS
45OH4IO's picture

Thank you kind sir! It is glorious!

+1 HS
kingjamborah's picture

Beautiful!

 

JammaRamma

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Hahahaha JYBuckeye, that is hilarious!

-1 HS
Buckabroad's picture

Hey, fewer players would get injured if tackling were not allowed

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

+5 HS
Maffro's picture

Mike Leach, tongue-in-cheek, said that if player safety was actually the issue, then they'd be better off with bans on blitzing, hitting QBs, and bringing more defenders into the backfield than the offense had blockers for.

+1 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I'm all for two-hand touch...but only in the women's lingerie league. It'd be the greatest game ever!

...

+2 HS
ticodillo's picture

Ha ha ! They can play what my 4 yr old plays, " hug football".

+1 HS
LadyBuck's picture

I'm typically a 'quiet reader,' but this is absolutely silly. It's not about 'player safety,' but about keeping the SEC in power, which helps fund the World Wide Leader. Laughable as the rule seems to us, I wouldn't be surprised if it passes since it has Saban's say-so as the co-chairman with Bert.

+4 HS
benlight01's picture

Something tells me it isn't a coincidence that this change is being pushed by Arkansas after a disaster season and Alabama after they lose to Auburn/don't go to the SEC championship/badly lose a bowl for the first time in a long while. With such a strong backlash from (one assumes) the large majority of coaches, I doubt this change goes through.

buckskin's picture

Mark Emmert and blatant favoritism needs to go; and I'm not just saying this because he's Little NIcky's buddy.  According to Freeze, the rule change wasn't even discussed at their January meeting; and now it's on the table for a legit shot at passing?  Ridiculous.  The NCAA rules changing process needs major tweaking (trash can) if they can put a new rule on the table and most major D-1 coaches do not know anything about it.   

I'm not even going to touch the stupidity of this rule.  Many of you above have done a fine job summing up my thoughts.

UrbanCulture's picture

Fewer players would get "injured" if you stopped oversigning as well, Saban

+3 HS
GOOMBAY's picture

Looking forward to the ESPN media blitz to justify this "common sense" proposal...

Shangheyed's picture

What would the Vest say to this Rule?

Deadly Nuts's picture

If this passes they should award five timeouts per half to each team.

LEBRON

TCOB_6's picture
Bertball... The Future Of College Football
"Bertball"... The Future Of College Football
+2 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Heres an idea

2 leagues- 1 that is real football....1 that is whatever the hell Satan and Bert want to run.

I like it,let the little girls that are scared of losing to fast offenses play with themselves on the sidelines and still have time to sub. I wish Urban would just come out and say,"NO"

UFM_Renewal

D-Day0043's picture

It is just going to be one more thing officials are going to have to watch for with an already over-loaded plate of ignorant rules that some genius has come up with to fix something that isn't broken.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

+1 HS
mc22's picture

I have a way that would reduce injuries:

Play three qtrs...yeah that's it.

rider1's picture

Is it just me or is Rich Rod likable again? I hope he becomes extremely successful.

Knarcisi's picture

Are you from Martins Ferry?

buckeyeradar's picture

ESPN wants to replay each play in slowmo.  Bert & Ernie I mean Nick are SEC, ESPN loves, owns, is in bed with the SEC.  Can you say rule change.  If tv wants to have it they'll get it.  ESPN does a three hour college pregame show now just saying.

Buckeye in Texas

Knarcisi's picture

Will being able to substitute players in the first 10 seconds enable Bert to improve to 2-10?  The plot thickens. 

+1 HS
bucknut94's picture

Dumb and Dumber rule.

ghalephoto's picture

I agree with the rule that if the offense changes players the defense should be allowed as well.  This however is nothing more than cutting the number of plays.  Cut the number of plays the scoring goes down.  Players got injured in 3 yards and a cloud of dust, injuries are part of this game.  My bet is it won't be that big a deal once everyone gets used to it.

Seattle Linga's picture

I loved the comment about the LB who is planning on Blitzing must raise their hands. 

swobuckeye's picture

Found this on another site and thought I'd share

 

rdubs's picture

Some data about injuries and speed of play.  Doesn't "prove" anything, but it certainly doesn't support this rule.

http://cfbmatrix.com/speed-may-kill-but-slow-gets-you-hurt/