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Gus Malzahn leads charge against defensive substitute rule proposal

Gus Malzahn AP

While the NCAA rules committee mulls a proposal to allow defenses 10 seconds to substitute before offenses snap the ball, one of the leading proponents of the up-tempo, no-huddle offense is making no bones about his opposition to it.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said on Tuesday that “There’s absolutely zero evidence, documented evidence, that is hazardous on the pace of play, only opinions,” referring to the supposed safety concerns behind the rules change.

Malzahn went further and asked the chairman of the rules committee, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, to table the proposal for a year “so we can hear both sides and have a healthy debate on moving forward with the rules.”

Calhoun seemed to agree with Malzahn’s arguments during a radio interview this week.

“If there is no medical data that can support it, then there’s no way,” Calhoun told The Tim Brando Show. “There should not be a rule. Now, if you go and there’s truly … a resounding concern by people who should have the right insight and right background from the medical community that, indeed, if you don’t have a substitution pattern in place or be able to provide adequate rest and recovery for somebody, then I think you have an obligation to bring that up.”

So with the chairman of the rules committee casting doubts on the proposal, what now?

As things stand, the proposal will be heard by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6. But the rules committee could decide to pull the proposal before then.

Malzahn isn’t the only coach speaking up against the proposed rule. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez labeled the rule “ridiculous,” while Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin called it “an attempt to limit the creativity of the game.”

But for now, Malzhan’s voice is probably the most prominent.

“I would like to think that it wouldn’t (pass),” Malzahn said. “I’m just going to do everything in my power, the right way, to stand up.

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20 Responses to “Gus Malzahn leads charge against defensive substitute rule proposal”
  1. chunkala says: Feb 18, 2014 6:38 PM

    I would be in favor of this rule but I know that it won’t pass and probably shouldn’t anyway.
    But how about we enforce the illegal procedure that Auburn and many other teams do each game – where everyone gets set and then turns to the sideline.
    I know this wasn’t allowed 20+ years ago, I’m sure they made some stupid adjustment to the rule to increase offense but it’s definitely not in the original spirit/rukes of the game.

  2. Deb says: Feb 18, 2014 6:45 PM

    “If there is no medical data that can support it, then there’s no way,” Calhoun told The Tim Brando Show.

    Where were the guys like these when Goodell started monkeying with the pro game?

  3. rolltide510 says: Feb 18, 2014 7:00 PM

    Because this year isn’t one of the years earmarked for rule changes unrelated to safety, those in favor of not turning football into basketball on grass had to find a safety angle.

    Personally, I don’t care when the ball is snapped as long as the officiating can keep up. If illegal movement and blocking downfield are penalties when a clock control offense does them, they need to get called properly when hurry up offenses do them too.

  4. thefiesty1 says: Feb 18, 2014 7:26 PM

    The defenses just have to man up and get off the field by stopping them on third down. Otherwise…..

  5. irishdodger says: Feb 18, 2014 7:27 PM

    Hell, every team runs some sort of uptempo sooner or later. 2-minute drill? Why was this not an issue back in the 70s when Nebraska, OU & Texas were running uptempo with the wishbone? This is a red herring. I’m w/ Gus on this one.

  6. hor2012 says: Feb 18, 2014 8:26 PM

    There is a easy way to stop these up tempo offenses and the Seahawks exposed it in the Superbowl- tackle and tackle hard. Most of the offenses passing game is five yards and let the receiver make a play. If you tackle I promise you that those offenses will make mistakes. As far as injuries. In my 9th grade year I played on a team where 9 of 11 players went both ways.

  7. drummerhoff says: Feb 18, 2014 9:16 PM

    Maybe we should go back to no substituting like in the 1950s…. Everyone plays both side of the ball.

    Rules change as the game changes and the game has dramatically changed. Plays per game, points, offensive yardage are all off the charts. Defenses in the Big 12 measure themselves by getting turnovers and holding opponents to FGs in the red zone.

    I used to like the uptempo when it was a new. Now it’s become a basketball game where points and yardage is as devalued as the Russian Ruble.

  8. mgmac says: Feb 18, 2014 9:20 PM

    Some post mentioned illegal procedure. No such penalty in college ball. There’s illegal motion, illegal snap, false start but no illegal procedure

  9. chex1868 says: Feb 18, 2014 9:46 PM

    Hate Gus, but hate the new proposed rule more. Glad he’s pushing back.

  10. jimr10 says: Feb 18, 2014 10:28 PM

    Gus… this is what you get when you beat Nick Saban..

  11. bender4700 says: Feb 19, 2014 1:21 AM

    Has any team who runs/ran the “Hurry Up Offense” won a National Title?


  12. auburntigers34 says: Feb 19, 2014 9:49 AM

    bender4700 says: Feb 19, 2014 1:21 AM

    Has any team who runs/ran the “Hurry Up Offense” won a National Title?

    Auburn won the NC in 2010 with a HUNH offense.

  13. wadaea says: Feb 19, 2014 9:59 AM

    Saban law..”if you can’t beat them change the rules”..kick offs are much more dangerous then quick offences. Why doesn’t he want them outlawed…hiring lame kitten..desperate moves by a desperate man…

  14. wgward says: Feb 19, 2014 11:04 AM

    Using the “player safety” moniker has been used in modern times, in many disciplines to make suspect “change.” It is routinely done by timid bureaucrats wanting to cover their “arse.” It’s a red herring.

  15. buryyourduke says: Feb 19, 2014 11:33 AM

    “an attempt to limit the creativity of the game.” Really? I would think an offense that runs the same 3 plays over and over, just really quickly, isn’t all that creative.

  16. annapterp says: Feb 19, 2014 12:49 PM

    If they pass this rule I will immediately stop watching college football. BOTH the NFL and NCAA are destroying the game once known as football.

  17. normtide says: Feb 19, 2014 1:10 PM

    I’ve always felt there is a defense to stop every offense. Bama actually has a winning record against HUNH teams over the last six years. They even shut Gus’s offense out in his last year as OC at Auburn. The only thing I say is the refs need to be faster setting up. Watch how often the receivers are not set for two seconds before the snap. The problem is the refs are not set to catch it.

  18. mogogo1 says: Feb 20, 2014 5:37 PM

    Sounds like they may be coming to their senses regarding this ridiculous rule, but I have to say I simply cannot believe Troy Calhoun got suckered in on this thing. I’ve always had great respect for him as a coach (and it sounds like he’s rethinking his stance now) but it totally sounds as if he let Nick Saban convince him this was a great idea that everybody wanted.

  19. goobermcguility says: Dec 4, 2014 1:36 PM

    This 10 second rule puts the chess match back in the game. The only coaches who don’t like it are the ones who have to play the more intelligent teams!!

  20. normtide says: Dec 10, 2014 6:38 PM

    Funny how Saban was roasted over this idea, but now more and more college football analysts are calling for the rule to be re-examined. I expect pre-snap to be more like the NFL, ensuring that the refs are set and maybe some sub time for defenses.

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