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Noted up-tempo contrarians Saban, Bielema voiced opinions on defensive sub proposal

Arkansas v Alabama Getty Images

While coach after coach seems to be blasting the proposed rule that would potential slow down up-tempo offenses, we now know two coaches who were on the inside of the discussions regarding the rule proposal. Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema were both allowed to have a say in front of the NCAA’s Football Rules Committee.

According to the Associated Press, neither coach had a vote in the proposal on the table. Bielema was on hand to represent the American Football Coaches Association, but Saban has requested an opportunity to address the concerns he had regarding potential changes to slow down the offensive pace that has been spreading in college football. Both coaches have previously made their opinions rather clear on the subject of up-tempo offenses, and neither coach is likely to be found voicing the same responses coaches like Rich Rodriguez and Mike Gundy have shared to this point.

The proposal calls for offenses to be prevented from snapping the football before the play clock hits 29 seconds, giving opposing defenses 10 seconds to make substitutions on the field. If an offense snaps the football before the 29-second mark, they would be penalized five yards for a delay of game.

The general opinion seems to be the proposal will not be approved by the playing rules oversight committee, which meets on March 6.

For those wondering, nobody seems to have come out against the other proposed rule, which would overturn a 15-yard penalty when an ejected player returns to the game following a targeting rule. So that one appears to be a lock to be approved, as it should be.

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27 Responses to “Noted up-tempo contrarians Saban, Bielema voiced opinions on defensive sub proposal”
  1. irishdodger says: Feb 13, 2014 9:17 PM

    Show me some empirical data that shows an increase in injuries b/c of an uptempo offense. Appears to me that the defenses are in inferior physical condition than their offensive counterparts b/c if the kids on defense are all supposedly falling out b/c they can’t keep up with uptempo offense wouldn’t it make sense that the offensive players have the same issue. So get your defenses better conditioned or quit crying.

  2. afrancis55 says: Feb 13, 2014 9:25 PM

    If ya can’t beat ’em change the rules!

    It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the two of the whiniest coaches in Saban and Burt Bielma are behind this.

    But but but Bama fans, I thought saban was the greatest coach on earth and the best thing since sliced bread and could scheme/game plan for anything?!?!?

  3. Deb says: Feb 13, 2014 9:30 PM

    irishdodger …

    First, I disagree with Nick on this one. Up-tempo offenses are a strategy, and defenses will need to strategize to counter them–and by strategizing, I don’t mean changing the rules.

    But are you actually telling defensive players to get better conditioned and quit crying rather than looking for officials to baby them??? Defenses???? Um … it’s offensive players who run crying to the officials every offseason looking for new rules to help them play against those nasty ol’ defenses. As the great Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert once said, just put skirts on them. That might simplify the rule book.

  4. Deb says: Feb 13, 2014 9:35 PM

    @afrancis55 …

    At least Nick’s not telling his defensive players to just fall on the field and feign injury to slow down the offense :)

  5. allan357 says: Feb 13, 2014 9:38 PM

    irishdodger, it has nothing to do with defenses being “in inferior physical condition”. Here’s the fact: offenses will always be able to dictate a game more than defenses. The offense knows what it’s going to do, and the defense has to guess & react. And with modern spread offenses, that gets more and more true each year.

    Offenses will always have more room to innovate than defenses.

    Go on the Sporting News site and read Matt Hayes interesting column about this rule. He points out that the higher scores we are seeing increasingly often don’t have much to do with how quickly the ball is snapped — or defensive conditioning, for that matter.

    Essentially, he argues that defenses are screwed regardless of whether this rule is passed or not.

  6. bonerchamp says: Feb 13, 2014 9:43 PM

    Saban bends every rule. He over recruits, orders medical hardships or else ultimatums and has about 100 coaches on his staff. If there is a way to take advantage of the rules, he will take it.

    Now that he’s unwilling to adapt, he’s trying to change CFB? Pathetic. He’s a great coach but the hypocrisy is grotesque.

  7. elwaysagenius says: Feb 13, 2014 9:46 PM

    Delay of game for speeding up the game. Logic.

  8. irishdodger says: Feb 13, 2014 10:07 PM

    @Deb & Allan:

    I was being sarcastic, pointing out that it gives the impression that the offensive players are in better condition if they have no problem going uptempo but the defense is to the point of dropping like flies. Of course that’s not the case & I was directing that at the coaches who cry about this Deb….not the players. My first question was serious though….show me some empirical evidence of an increase in injury directly due to uptempo offense.

  9. afrancis55 says: Feb 13, 2014 10:07 PM


    Well done, Deb. Well done.

    But seriously I know Saban is better than this. I hate everything about him but he’s one of the best (second to Malzahn of course lol) at adjusting to anything thrown at him.

  10. goodfieldnohit says: Feb 13, 2014 10:14 PM

    “Delay of game for speeding up the game. Logic.”

    Now I hate Saban. I used to respect him. Not any more.

  11. Deb says: Feb 13, 2014 10:23 PM

    @afrancis55 …

    Couldn’t resist that. Don’t know if you watch NFL ball, but the Giants once had two defensive players go down just like Swain did on the same play. It was hysterical.

    Yeah, I’m a little surprised, too. Up-tempo offenses aren’t new. No defensive coach likes them, but as you said, he knows how to adjust.

  12. thefiesty1 says: Feb 13, 2014 10:35 PM

    If the defenses can’t stop the up tempo offenses then they lose. Get in shape and get off the field on third down. That’s how you stop an up tempo offense.

  13. Deb says: Feb 13, 2014 10:35 PM

    @irishdodger …

    Sorry, the sarcasm didn’t come through.

    As an NFL fan, it’s been painful to watch the hatchet job being done on defenses during each successive off season. The neutering is supposedly all for safety’s sake, but the league has never done the necessary research to determine whether the rule changes–or reinterpretation of tackling rules–actually leads to fewer or less severe injuries. According to the league’s own Injury Surveillance System, the number of concussions increased 29 percent for 2010–the year Goodell implemented his idiotic fining program–and that increase held the following year. And at least anecdotally, it appears severe knee injuries have increased as well.

    And the proposed rule changes for this off season are mind-boggling. I’m not being sarcastic in saying the quarterback sack may soon become illegal in the NFL.

    So no … I’m not amused by suggestions that defensive players are being coddled by the rules.

  14. normtide says: Feb 13, 2014 10:58 PM

    Saban isn’t as powerful as made out to be. As noted in the story, he don’t have a vote. If this passes, it will be other coaches voting it through. Wes Neighbors made a great point on the radio today. Broadcasters have also brought this up, claiming it interferes with the format ( a million replays ) and it affects their most important thing, the commercials. He thinks tv may be as much behind this as anyone. Wes is an auburn grad, but he is pretty smart, lol.

  15. mgmac says: Feb 14, 2014 8:11 AM

    This muse has been recommended, it is NOT a rule … YET. Hopefully it will never pass.

  16. rolltide510 says: Feb 14, 2014 10:17 AM

    Other coaches were pretty okay with changing recruiting rules so they didn’t have to try as hard to keep up with Saban on the recruiting trail.

    Nobody said “Want more recruits, then get in better shape so you can spend more time on the road recruiting”.

  17. MasMacho says: Feb 14, 2014 11:19 AM

    Well, only 50% of the coaches will be employed by the end of next season, so you may as well just focus on Saban. Bielma will be coaching at Buffalo next season.

  18. louhudson23 says: Feb 14, 2014 11:56 AM

    The game is already slanted towards Offense by it’s very nature. Presently Offenses can control their own substitutions and do so at their own will. Defensive substitutions are currently controlled by the Offense as well. Why is that good? Most snaps occur after ten seconds regardless. Making it a rule simply guarantees the Defense has that long to initiate changes. No need for an Offensive Huddle and still very much a “hurry up” offense. If that is the goal,then the goal remains available. If the goal is to have control of both offensive and defensive substitutions,then you have a reason to cry over this proposed rule change. The whining desire to turn the game into a video game is astounding.

  19. dsharp86 says: Feb 14, 2014 12:02 PM

    I don’t think Nick is overly concerned about injuries. He needs to be able to substitute to get more of his 4 and 5 star guys in the game and keep them happy at Alabama.

  20. amosalanzostagg says: Feb 14, 2014 2:41 PM


    How about a 10 Mississippi count until you can rush the QB?

    Football is simple. The defense can move any where on the field before the snap of the ball. The offense can have one player moving across the formation.

    Offense is offense, defense is defense.

    How about talent match ups? You can only play comparable talent, say 3 stars versus 3 stars, no four stars or 5 star players can play against 3 or no star players.

    Better yet, ask players questions in the basic college courses that the average university freshman would have in say a science or business
    major after every TD or first down catch or two yard run. Stanford, Duke, Rice or Notre Dame would be national champs every year.

    Nick, I luv you, but you’re wanting to tilt the table to old smash mouth football. Why not compete?


  21. Professor Fate says: Feb 14, 2014 4:37 PM

    Last time I looked you could see across the field. When the offense substitutes you ought to be ready to do the same. Better yet, recruit guys who can play good all-around defense.

    Funny how the guy that can attract more five-star players than anyone else seems to have an issue with the opposing offense actually running plays without a 30-second break between them.

  22. chinahand11 says: Feb 14, 2014 5:59 PM

    I think irishdodger was correct in the first place. There are usually more fat guys on the defense than the offense. If those guys could get in shape we would not be having this discussion. Otherwise, coaches should do what they’ve always done: adapt! This no-huddle fun-n-gun whatever won’t go away until the defenses smack it down regularly! Think coaches think!

  23. willdigg says: Feb 14, 2014 8:35 PM

    I can see where there is a potential for injuries due to up-tempo offenses, especially on the defensive side of the ball without being able to sub players.
    For example, a receiver runs a deep route down the field and a corner or a safety goes with him. The next play they send a different receiver long against this same corner or safety with the difference being, this receiver ran a short route last play so he is not as winded as the corner or safety who has ran two deep coverage routes in a row now. Advantage goes to the offensive players who can switch to a short route while the defensive corner or safety doesn’t get that luxury.

  24. normtide says: Feb 15, 2014 10:15 AM

    The difference is in the lines. O linemen make a block and are done, especially on passing downs. D linemen are expected to run to the ball every down. There is a huge difference.

  25. chinahand11 says: Feb 15, 2014 8:15 PM

    You’re correct normtide, although I do disagree with you on other things. I was being flip, btw, and regret it, I shouldn’t be fat shaming anyone. I apologize to overweight people (unless you fumble in a crucial situation then boy you’re going to get worse than obese jokes!!).

  26. normtide says: Feb 16, 2014 12:56 PM

    Life would be boring without disagreements.

  27. 8to80texansblog says: Feb 19, 2014 10:29 AM

    normtide says:
    Feb 16, 2014 12:56 PM

    Life would be boring without disagreements.


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