You’ve got to fight for your right to no-huddle.

Making it up as they go along – it’s one thing I cherish about SEC officiating.

From the Macon Telegraph, June 3, 2004:

Notebook: UGA’s Richt rebuffed in no-huddle bid

Georgia football coach Mark Richt continued the two-year fight for his no-huddle offense this week at the SEC Meetings.

“He and I talked about it for the last three hours,” Bobby Gaston, the league’s director of officials, said Friday afternoon on the second day of the meetings at the Sandestin Hilton.

Since coming to Georgia, Richt has all but ditched the fast break offense he made famous at Florida State because, he says, the league’s officials don’t allow him to go fast enough to make it worthwhile. SEC officials are required to pause for 12-14 seconds between each play, and that’s not going to change despite Richt’s arguments, Gaston said.

“He doesn’t agree with it, but he knows what we’re doing,” Gaston said.

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.”

Fast forward to now and Ellis Johnson.

… Johnson said, “One thing that has gotten into it that I’ve been pretty outspoken, that I really think is starting to deteriorate some of college football is the hurry up offenses.  There is nothing wrong a pace and speeding up the play on the operation side. I get that.”

“But what’s happening now with the rules is that you can snap it as soon as you want to or you can sit on it for 40 seconds, and there is no in-between.”

“Canadian ball is very fast-paced, but the offense can’t sit there all day long.  They have a 20 second limit. The NFL cut it out with Buffalo in the 90’s, they kind of put some cold water on it a little bit with the Colts not too many years ago.  What they realized is they’re taking the game of football and turning it into soccer or lacrosse.  There’s nothing wrong with those sports, but that’s not football.”

“What it’s about now is who can snap the football before the other team lines up.  You can’t hardly get your players on and off the field.  You can’t get your signals in and out.  It’s become who has the best signal system or verbiage system. “


UPDATE:  Jerry Hinnen takes umbrage with Johnson’s comments.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

24 responses to “You’ve got to fight for your right to no-huddle.

  1. Marmot

    Which begs the question, since Richt now seems to have what he wanted in 2004, why has he not taken advantage of it?


    • HK

      “you can snap it as soon as you want to or you can sit on it for 40 seconds”

      So has the 12-14 seconds in the SEC thing actually changed or is he referring to other conferences or what?


    • Derek

      I think that in most of the years since we’ve either had an inexperienced, qb a thin line or both. Further we haven’t had defenses that could stand the added pressure that comes with quick 3 and outs.


    • SCDawg

      I had wondered about that as well. I guess he’s ditched that philosophy.


    • Gern Blanski

      +1. We have one of the slowest tempos of any offense in the conference from the time the ball is placed to when it is snapped. In certain situations on the field especially goal line and short yardage, I think it really hurts us.


  2. Derek

    While I see the point about inconsistency, mark me down as one who agrees with Ellis. These basketball on grass offenses make me want to puke. It’s not football. It’s as much a bastardization of football as the run and shoot was. Football should be a match of wills more than wits. If I want to watch a contest of finesse I’ll watch dancing with the stars. I’ll take Ray Lewis over chip Kelly’s picture boards every day.


  3. simpl_matter

    Let it roll, if I get to see a few dozen more plays a game, I’m happy. With all the tinkering they’ve done in the last few years to speed up the game, I’m usually wondering how THAT was 4 quarters of football when it’s over.

    Sure, it’s going to cause DCs some fits. Where’s the problem in that? You’ve got the same right to do the exact same thing when you are on offense.


  4. adam

    I have been talking about Richt’s no-huddle and how badly I’d hoped we would go back to it for years. I really want someone to ask him about it. Maybe this year we’ll see if and Coach Richt just doesn’t want to let the cat out of the bag. I have seen a few quotes about playing faster in the past 5 months.


    • Derek

      The lack of depth at o-line notwithstanding, given the fact that our defense should be much improved and deeper and the fact that we probably have the best qb that we’ve ever had or will have, it probably would be a good strategy this year in order to deal with the fact that our receivers are good but not great. Offensive creativity will be a must if we’re to have a good season. Chances are that we will not be imposing our will or matching superior jimmies vs. Inferior joes come the fall. They need to hope that Murray can be like a Peyton manning this fall: recognize, adjust and execute.


    • Connor

      I’ve thought we should try more no huddle for the last two years, especially with the versatility our tight ends bring, and formerly, our fullbacks. I thought we had a chance to put a 11 guys out there that could pretty much go 5 wide to I formation without subbing and still be effective. I’ve been mystified by Richt/Bobo’s unwillingness to go back to the fast paced offense in these later years, especially as so many other schools are making it a staple, but I’m not an X/Os guy, maybe there’s a good reason.


  5. 69Dawg

    Funny how Bobby “GT Grad ” Gaston was more than happy to take Mark out of his game. Now the damn SEC refs run to get the ball down for Auburn etc. Nothing slows down a hurry up better than a QB sack. Knock that little SOB on his butt and he won’t be so quick to want the ball.


  6. Scott W.

    If a DC is against it, you really want to use it. This is a battle of wits and wills.


  7. Go Dawgs!

    I think any time you’re bringing up the way they do things in Canadian football, you’ve already lost.


  8. emory king

    In the battle of wits vs. wills do we ever want to see a program run this

    just asking


  9. Dave

    The SEC does everything it can to model its game on the NFL – part of the recruiting attraction. Preparation for the next level and all that. If the NFL speeds things up, SEC refs will follow.


  10. Scott W.

    The forward pass really did destroy football.


  11. JaxDawg

    I recall that Richt did run a hurry-up version of his offense at one time, and it was Phil Fulmer that openly complained to the gameday officials and subsequently to the league office about it. Consequently, Richt’s huury-up was slowed down and never really surfaced again. It wasn’t an Oregon bastardization of football, it was the FSU version which when run correctly, was a fucking thing of beauty.


  12. Prov

    I think Richt has commented in the past that depth at WR is a must have for the no-huddle. Not sure if this years group can meet that need.


  13. W Cobb Dawg

    I would like to see the O speed up. Not sure why CMR is asking gaston’s blessing for it either. If the refs aren’t in position, they’ll rightly be called a bunch of lazy slobs who can’t keep up with the speed of the game. Did corch ask if it was okay to run the spread? Did Oregon’s Kelly ask if it was okay to run his hurry-up O? I propose we run the hurry-up, and call it the backbone offense.


  14. Reptillicide

    Think the lack of much no-huddle offense has anything to do with the fact that we haven’t returned a starter at QB since 2008? I sure do.