Last year, Alabama coach Nick Saban asked if the no-huddle offense was “what we want football to be” specifically in regards to player safety.
He has a supporter in Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. Speaking during SEC spring meetings, Bielema also cited player safety as a counter to the hurry-up, ho-huddle and recommended a 15-second substitution period after every first down.
From al.com’s piece on uptempo offenses in the SEC:
“Not to get on the coattails of some of the other coaches, there is a lot of truth that the way offensive philosophies are driven now, there’s times where you can’t get a defensive substitution in for 8, 10, 12 play drives,” Bielema said. “That has an effect on safety of that student-athlete, especially the bigger defensive linemen, that is really real.”
For what it’s worth, Bielema is a member of the Playing Rules Oversight Panel and he’s not the only coach who feels the way he does. Not coincidentally, the hurry-up, no-huddle presence has grown in the SEC over the past year or so with Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Auburn all running their version of it.
“Offensive players are playing, too, the same number of snaps,” Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said from the same al.com article. “Are they in danger also? I mean, offensive players get hurt, too, and if we don’t substitute, they’re having to play the same number of plays.”
Yeah, don’t expect the hurry-up to slow down any time soon.
In fact, Auburn’s defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson used to be quite vocal in his opposition to hurry-up offenses. Now that he’s working under Gus Malzahn? He thinks his defense can handle it. Go figure.