Bret Bielema sees all those no-huddle attacks spreading (see what I did there?) across the SEC and has… wait for it… health concerns. No, not about his defensive coordinator’s career, but about the players. No, really.
“Not to get on the coattails of some of the other coaches, there is a lot of truth that the way offensive philosophies are driven now, there’s times where you can’t get a defensive substitution in for 8, 10, 12 play drives,” Bielema said. “That has an effect on safety of that student-athlete, especially the bigger defensive linemen, that is really real.”
Shit’s getting really real there. His solution is a rules change that would allow a 15-second substitution period after every first down to allow defenses to make substitutions. (Bielema, by the way, is a member of the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.)
Needless to say, some of his peers who are invested in the faster paced game are not exactly enamored with that.
“I’m not for that at all,” Freeze said. “If the offense doesn’t sub, the defense shouldn’t sub, and that’s the way the rules are.”
The article cites Saban, Spurrier and Muschamp in support of Bielema’s position. That makes sense in light of Bill Connelly’s post on offensive pace in the 2012 season. Take a look and you’ll find Alabama, Florida and South Carolina running in the bottom quarter of the national pack in that department and Wisconsin, Bielema’s old stomping grounds, only slightly faster.
I would love to hear Mark Richt’s take on this. Georgia ranks 98th on Bill’s chart, but Bobo does mix in some no-huddle stuff. And don’t forget that Richt, technically speaking, was ahead of the game with no-huddle, only to see the conference shut it down.
Anyway, I don’t see Bielema’s crusade going anywhere. And as Spurrier points out, there’s an obvious way to deal with the problem:
“Of course, the answer is for the other team’s offense to stay on the field and get the other fast-paced team stay on the sideline,” Spurrier said.