Everybody Wang HUNH tonight.

Football Study Hall asks the musical question why doesn’t everyone HUNH, which leads to a debate as to whether HUNH is a tactic or strategy (pretty close to hair-splitting, IMO) and Gary Danielson calling Nick Saban’s observation that football was never intended to be a continuous sport stupid.

I do think Nick [Saban, one of the proponents of the 10-second rule] has a point: football was not originally meant to be a continuous sport. But I think it’s stupid coming from Nick, and I don’t understand why he’s doing it. He has the best players! He theoretically should have the most well-rounded players, and he could look more like the Seattle Seahawks than anybody else in college! But he fights it. Just swallow hard and put guys in there who can do a lot of things. You’ve got the better players.

The post goes on to explore the question in the context of Saban eschewing up-tempo stuff and speculates that…

So, Saban is making a conscious, strategic choice to be anti-HUNH because there are important tradeoffs. The HUNH might or might not be strategically superior, but there are certainly some benefits slowing things down too, namely in player attributes, scheme complexity, and play choice.

I think there’s something else in play as well.  It’s something that HeismanPundit has mentioned – the value of taking a contrarian position with an offensive scheme.  In the land of the HUNH, with its emphasis on isolating players, the power offense can wind up becoming king as defenses look to become smaller and quicker to combat offenses spreading the field.

But don’t take my word for it.  Take Nick Saban’s.

“We’ve kind of gotten antiquated, and now we’re all of a sudden back. Everybody used to run the ball like we run it. Now people have a hard time stopping us, because they don’t play against teams that run the ball like we runs it. These used to be the basic plays that everybody ran.”

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53 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

53 responses to “Everybody Wang HUNH tonight.

  1. Derek

    There is no big secret to Saban’s attitude. He knows that he has the best players so I we line up and go toe to toe, they win. The HUNH neutralizes that advantage to a degree and forces the consideration of changing defensive body types that would then suffer against a team that pounds the ball.

    The analogy here is the British army demanding that the colonists fight in little tight squares like gentlemen rather than as snipers and hit and run artists. The British were equipped to fight one type of battle. If their rules had controlled that would have won. Saban is the redcoats and malzahn and freeze are the colonist revolutionaries trying to a find a why to even the fight with inferior personnel.

    • PTC DAWG

      Excellent analogy, kudos.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      There’s an old Bill Cosby bit on that exact idea: You Brits must wear red, march in a straight line, and kneel to shoot. You rebels can wear whatever you want, hide behind rocks and trees, and shoot from cover.

    • The analogy is appropriate here, but also not historically accurate. The mythology that Americans won the war by using guerrilla tactics simply doesn’t hold up upon further inspection.

      Washington kept his army in tact by avoiding catastrophic defeats, formally training his army (in the European style) and then finally taking advantage of 5 star recruits that looked a lot like the French Navy and infantry reinforcements.

      This is not to say that guerrilla tactics did not occur. They did, but the British also adapted on the battlefield and these tactics were not ultimately responsible for American victory.

      The British lost strategically, not tactically. Maybe Saban could learn some lessons there…

      • Dog in Fla

        “Maybe Saban could learn some lessons there…”

        He needs to hire Dick LeBeau? What Would Kirby Do?

        • On second thought, maybe he is reacting strategically rather than tactically by proposing the rule change. But if things keep up he may have to change his recruiting strategy along with his defensive gameplan. But then, he may have trouble with power I teams. Heck, its a lot easier just to change the rules I guess.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Great observation Twisty. Basically Washington out-generaled the British. His crossing of the Delaware in the middle of the night on Christmas and catching the Hessians in Trenton drunk at sunrise was one of the most brilliant maneuvers in military history. Numerous other equally brilliant moves were made by him until he finally cornered the main British army under Cornwallis in Virginia, with its back to the sea and the French fleet offshore, thereby forcing surrender.

        • Dog in Fla

          “His crossing of the Delaware in the middle of the night” which coincidentally happened to be the first reported use by the troopers of “everybody have fun tonight” in a go-to song

        • Agreed Mayor. He survived some initial disasters and eventually adjusted his strategic approach–none of which was going to the 18th century war rules committee and outlawing the ‘proper Generals don’t attack during Christmas’ rule.

      • That’s how Washington got it done but Jackson’s victory in New Orleans which decided the war resulted from an ambush and sharpshooters picking off officers from sniper positions. “Jackson knew his force of Army regulars, volunteers, and pirates was vastly outnumbered, but he had geography and marksmanship on his side.”

        • Dog in Fla

          The Battle of Chalmette Plantation led to the first reported use by the troopers of “please don’t squeeze the Chalmette” in a business model setting

        • The battle of New Orleans was a traditional frontal assault against a fortified position–not an ambush. Snipers did have an impact, but the majority of the damage was done by American artillery.

          Also, the battle did not decide the war of 1812. The peace treaty had been signed a few weeks before, but unfortunately for the British, the news had not made its way across the Atlantic. At best, the victory took away a potential bargaining tool from the British and propelled Jackson into national prominence and eventually the Whitehouse.

          • I yield the field good sir. But please consider the following: “American Riflemen began to pick off the British officers as the units came into range, causing a serious command-and-control breakdown. Over twenty senior British officers were killed, including Major General Samuel Gibbs, commander of the inland column. Major General John Keane, commander of the second column, advancing along the river, was wounded. The command breakdown was costly. “

            • Oh yea, picking off British officers with rifles was an American pastime and could be considered a wartime innovation. Considered very unsportsmanlike by the British. They tried to implement a no roughing the passer rule, but it just didn’t take. As a side note, you better not get captured with a rifle in your hand by the British!

              • Picking off those officers resulted in a loss of command structure and some decisions by inexperienced command that placed the Brits in harms way. That is what happened to lead to the success of the artillery. Chicken vs egg. By the way, Brits marched, hidden, in the fog… they gambled. When the fog lifted they found themselves in a well planned “ambush”. Ambush defined here as “cause they didn’t know that Jackson was there… until too late” . Frontal assault on an enemy that they couldn’t see until fired upon.

        • Hogbody Spradlin

          AHD: Are you saying Washington and Jackson were generals in the same war?

          “In 1814 we took a little trip,
          Along with Colonel Jackson
          Down the Mighty Mississip,
          We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
          And we went to fight the British at the town of New Orleans”

          • Are you saying there was only one war? And you pick which one we address? ;-)

            • Dog in Fla

              Hogbody wears the Pawleys Island cloak of shabby arrogance so well he can pick any war he wants to pick even if it wasn’t started at Fort Sumter, Sullivan’s Island or South Myrtle Beach

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Wait a minute…does this mean the HUNH is some kind of Mao-inspired guerrilla offense…hit em where they ain’t thing there? I knew it, damn Commies are always afraid to stand up like real men and die in place.

        All hail Nick’s version of the Roman Square.

  2. Sanford222view

    ” In the land of the HUNH, with its emphasis on isolating players, the power offense can wind up becoming king as defenses look to become smaller and quicker to combat offenses spreading the field.”

    This is what I like about what Georgia does when you have a Todd Gurley on the team. Bobo can switch back and forth between up tempo spread type play or play power football with Gurley. He can really keep the defense off balance or adjust the style of play depending on what the opposing defense has more difficulty stopping.

  3. Jack Klompus

    I think your contrarian point is right on. It seems to me that defenses are usually a step behind when it comes to building up to adjust to offensive schemes. I believe we are in the defensive catch up phase of the HUNH and teams are recruiting players with the skills to be better equipped to stop the HUNH. Which in turn, plays right into Saban’s hand. I also think it’s the reason you’ll see Todd Gurley, Derek Henry type RBs continue to put up Nintendo numbers. Defenses are built for speed not for stop power.

  4. Rick

    Danielson’s argument is breathtakingly dumb. HUNH makes the game more chaotic, which increases variance. That is precisely what you don’t want when you have a talent advantage.

    Nick Saban is a lot of things, but stupid ain’t one of them.

    • Always Someone Else's Fault

      Exactly. Additionally, the no-substitution aspect of this allows offensive coaches to have more influence play to play than the defensive coaches, simply because they have both more options and better options at their disposal between snaps. I personally would like to see offensive and defensive coaches with an equivalent set of strategic and tactical options between plays – but I’m clearly in the minority on that one.

  5. Can’t help but add one of my favorite scenes from Cheers:

    “There was a passage in one of those trifle songs that I feel…well, is the keynote to this evening – Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight!”

    • Dog in Fla

      That reminds me that someone with some energy should pitch an idea to The SEC Network for a new public service announcement, “Cheer Up, Bitch! and Get Me a DISH,” with Nick and Niles co-starring Finebaum as Niles the retriever with a cameo by Brent Musberger as Herbie and a special guest appearance by Verne as Benjamin Franklin

    • I believe the wooden Indian there made it into a Seinfeld show.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    What goes around comes around.
    Everything old is new again.

    Nick Saban is channeling his inner Dean Smith; shortening the game.

    BTW Ole Deano has bad Alzheimers. Sad.

  7. Rival

    You’ve been itching to use that title, haven’t you?

  8. Spence

    This just doesn’t seem like rocket surgery to me – nick Saban has dominated college football for 5 years in a way that is exceeding rare these days. When you’re at the North Pole, any change of location is South. In other words, he would be smart to fight any changes in scheme, rules, or tactics. At least I would if I were him.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    I usually respect Danielson’s opinion but this time he is way off base. This issue isn’t about who has the advantage versus whom. This really is about what we want football to be going forward. Do we want a continuous game like rugby or do we want the type of game that we have had historically in CFB? I read where somebody equated this issue with the discovery of the forward pass. I’m not sure that I agree, but it is a big change if everybody starts doing it. I’m from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thought. NCAA football has been doing just fine without continuous play for over 100 years. This new stuff may contain the seeds of the demise of the game as we know it and we may not figure that out until it is too late–as the public collectively stops coming games and tuning in on the tube. Be careful Gary. I know you think you are a smart guy but you’re messing with something that you don’t understand.

  10. 69Dawg

    I think our new DC hit the nail on the head when he said the “Up Tempo” offenses were giving up some control from the bench to the QB. The play-calling must be simple so the whole team doesn’t get confused. Auburn was basically running a shot-gun triple option. The bench was signaling in the side of the field to attack but the attack was on the QB. The only difference between Auburn’s O and GT’s O was the formation from which they start. It’s easier on a defense to mess up a GT triple option because the QB is under center. What Saban should be protesting is the cut blocking that goes on. If he can get it outlawed the speed sweep won’t be as dangerous or effective.

  11. Rebar

    I can’t really blame Saban for trying to get something for the defensive side of the ball. We’ve seen what the targeting rule has done, taking the smash out of the defense. We’ve seen alot of rule changes that favor the offense over the defense and you can’t breathe on the quaterbacks without a flag. Football should be about the whole package, strength and speed for both sides of the ball.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Unless of course the quarterback is a UGA quarterback–then you can hit him late, hit him in the head, basically do anything to him without penalty.