College football is known for pageantry and excitement. The raw emotion of players and fans seem to bring us all in. But what also brings us in is the different varying styles of play across the country. Some teams play fast while others play to a slow or moderate pace. And that mixture of play sets the scene for what most around the country love to see. But recently, there was an opponent to one of the styles we love to watch. Coaches like Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Brett Bielema were in favor of a rule that would slow down offenses by making sure they would have to wait at least eleven seconds before snapping the football. The move would allow teams to sub defensively and set their defenses a little better. This rule seems all good for Saban and Bielema, but it’s not a good rule for college football.
Football is a game of strategy and part of that strategy is the speed with which you run your offense. Teams like the University of Oregon used varying speeds to catch teams off guard and to wear them out. If you take that out of the equation, then you are taking away something that makes them special. Their speed along with their pace are traits of what they do offensively. By enacting this rule you basically even out the playing field for offenses and defenses and take away an advantage of the offense. Honestly, it is up to the defense to make adjustments when an offense changes speeds. To make it where offenses cannot do this would be giving the defense (and the coordinators) a break when one is not even needed here.
One point that Bielema said in regards to the proposed rule is that more players would not be hurt if this rule was enacted. The point he was trying to get at was that tired players seem to get injured more easily. While that may be true (which no statistics show that what Bielema said is true), where does the responsibility to be in better shape go? Does it fall on the players or the coaches? In my opinion, if the players are in better shape, the speed of the offense does not matter at all. The offensive players have to run up and down the field just like the defenders do and they are not breathing all that heavy because they trained to be in top shape. Maybe Bielema and coaches who think this rule will help them may want to look in the mirror at their own teams.
Honestly, it seems like coaches are making excuses for why offenses are beating them and trying to eliminate them. And in the case of Saban, I must say that I am disappointed in him here. The last few years he has had trouble with fast-paced offenses that spread his defenses out. You would expect him to make the adjustments with his defense. But instead, he gets behind this rule that makes no sense at all. In the end, I think this rule never sees its way into college football. And all this talk of this silly rule will disappear as fast as it came up.