To say a new proposal that would essentially put a restrictor plate on up-tempo offenses has gone over like flatulence in church would be an understatement.
The proposal — and it’s just that at the moment — has been almost unanimously assailed by those who cover the sport and, more importantly, those coaching in the sport who’d be directly impacted if the proposal is implemented. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy rightly ripped into the proposal. Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez was none too pleased with it, and neither was Washington State’s Mike Leach among myriad others.
Most scoff in the general direction of the NCAA Football Rules Committee hiding behind the “player safety” argument, with no data to back up the contention at that. Leach, with all swords swinging, called the entire charade “disgusting… insulting that they are hiding behind player safety just because somebody wants an advantage.”
You can add Larry Fedora to the growing chorus of those questioning the rationale behind the proposal. The North Carolina head coach, who would be one of many impacted by the rule that would call a delay of game (?!?) penalty on any team that snaps the ball before 10 seconds have run off the play clock, said the committee is “questioning our intelligence with trying to push this under player safety.” He also took direct — and rightful — aim at the rule allowing defensive substitutions not applying in the last two minutes of the half or the game.
“Now if you’re just going under the assumption that if you play more plays you have more chance for injury – I agree with that,” Fedora said in a phone interview with the Raleigh News & Observer. “But if you’re going to say this is under player safety, but we’re going to do it in the last two minutes of the game, well then are we saying we’re not concerned with player safety in the last two minutes of the game? I mean, come on. I just don’t get that.”
Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Alabama’s Nick Saban, longtime opponents of up-tempo offenses, had a seat — but not a vote — at the table of the committee that forwarded the proposal to the NCAA Rules Oversight Panel. In discussing his disgust over the proposed rule change, Fedora took a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at Saban and his collection of recruiting talent.
“I think you’ve got more chance of players getting hurt if the opposing team has too many five-star players on it,” Fedora said. “So let’s just say one team can only sign two five-star players on its team. How about that?”
Earlier this month, the Tide once again claimed the mythical recruiting national championship with a class that featured a whopping six players rated as five-star recruits by Rivals.com.
Here’s to hoping to some of Leach’s and the other coaches’ common sense rubs off on the panel and the beginning of next month is the last we hear of this absurd proposal.