Rule Violations


Posted on February 14th, by Rob Scichili in All. No Comments

No one will ever accuse Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema of being best buddies. But this week they are.

Both Saban and Bielema have been outspoken about no-huddle, up-tempo offenses designed to get in a rhythm and wear down a defense. They don’t like them. No, make that, hate them. But it’s all within the rules.

They’re trying to change the rules.

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Nick Saban wants the hurry-up offense scrapped.

Saban and Bielema have cried foul on the practice. Oh no, not because it gives the offense an advantage, they claim. It’s all about player safety.

Hogwash (No pun intended, Bret).

Both SEC West coaches voiced their concerns about the effects of the offense to the NCAA committee this week that went on to pass a proposal to slow down the attacks. The newly proposed rule (which will be voted on later this spring) would allow defenses to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock (except in the last two minutes of a half).

All in the name of player safety, right Nick? I guess the fact that Texas A&M chewed up yards like no one else against you over the last two seasons and Auburn’s up-tempo attack that played a huge role in winning the Iron Bowl had no impact on your views.

Gotta keep your defense safe. Or fresh, is more like it. I guess if you can’t take the heat, you don’t have to get out of the kitchen. Simply get a better thermostat.

There are so many things wrong with this proposed change, I don’t know where to start. But I’ll give it a try.

For instance, if a team is down by two touchdowns with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, they can’t go to a hurry-up yet? Nice. Thanks for ruining some great endings for us.

While we’re at it, how about some other moronic rule proposals? (all to improve player safety, of course):

  • Blind-side blitzes are definitely dangerous for quarterbacks. We have to protect them. Any blitzer has to jump up and down three times prior to the snap and then count out-loud, “one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi” to five before rushing, allowing the quarterback to fully prepare to adjust and get out of the way.
  • Punt returns? No more. Too dangerous. Guys are getting hit in a vulnerable position. Everything is now a fair catch or let it roll.
  • Double-teaming a D-lineman? No, no. We can’t have any of that.  That might wear him down and he could hurt himself.
  • Gatorade baths for a winning coach? Personal foul – 15 yards. You might drop it on his head and the trainer will have to get the butterfly bandages out.
  • By the way, no fast breaks in college basketball either. Too easy to pull a hammy.

Here’s a better idea, committee – vote this thing down. It’s ludicrous. You see, there’s this thing called a roster and you have to develop it and mold it to deal with all sorts of offenses. If you team is out of shape – that’s your problem. I thought football was for big boys. What’s next? Mandatory water breaks when the team reaches mid-field?

Nick, ever hear of a strength and conditioning coach to prepare your team?

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Suck it up and play some D when facing Auburn, Bret.

The truth is there is absolutely no evidence that up-tempo offenses lead to any safety issues for the defense. Zero. Oh, they might get tired. But that’s part of the game.

It’s no different than facing a team that likes to run the ball. A good defensive coach will put out his bigger, physical linemen and linebackers to counter it, as well as field five defensive backs against a passing team. Coaching staffs adjust all the time to what an offense is doing. Why not on this issue?

College football is one of the most entertaining sports out there. These types of rule changes are bad for the game, plain and simple.

Here’s hoping that logic and reason wins out and this thing is voted down. If not, Saban will next be lobbying for teams to not be able to advance a missed field goal.

Rob Scichili


Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.





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