According to Chip Towers, today’s teleconference with Georgia’s head coach “… was initially set up because numerous beat reporters had contacted Richt about getting his reaction to the proposed 10-second substitution rule to slow down up-tempo offenses in college football.”
His reaction? Essentially a yawn.
“Again, I just don’t know how many people are consistently snapping the ball under 10,” Richt said. “You can still go no-huddle and you can still go at a pretty good clip. …Even if you snap it at …29 or whatever it is, you’re still going pretty darn fast. I don’t think it will be a huge deal if it does change, but I doubt very seriously it changes this quickly.”
It sounds like that’s for two reasons. First, to the extent it’s a conditioning issue, that’s on the program, not the rule.
“I feel like if you can train offensive players to play five or six plays in a row, you can train defensive players to play that many plays in a row, too,” Richt said Thursday afternoon. “I personally don’t think it’s a health-issue deal, but if there’s some evidence otherwise, it will be interesting to see it. …I think it’s somebody’s assumption. I don’t think there’s any hard evidence on it.”
And the second? It’s sort of what I figured – Richt’s experience importing the no-huddle to the SEC has left him a bit skeptical about the whole thing. (Not that I blame him.)
“We started going fast at Florida State in 1992 and then ’93 we were going at breakneck speed as fast as we could until I got to Georgia,” he said.
ACC officials, he said, put the ball on the ground and got out of the way.
“It wasn’t quite happening that way in the SEC,” Richt said. “Who knows what the reasons were?”
Actually, we do know that.
… The mandatory pause is to allow the officiating crew to get in position, Gaston said. Richt argued that the officials should put the ball in play as soon as they are set, regardless of how much time has elapsed, but Gaston said that would provide the offense an unfair advantage.
“Mark Richt would eat their lunch,” he said. “He would go straight to the ball and snap it. He’d get in 100 plays. We have about half the coaches who think we go too fast and about half who think we go too slow so we must be in about the right spot.”
So you’ll have to pardon Richt if he doesn’t seem too worked up about this now. He dealt with rules manipulation before and nobody was particularly worked up about it then.