Suck it up, boys.

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.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

39 responses to “Suck it up, boys.

  1. I’m confused. Does the SEC still mandate 12-14 seconds elapse per play? If so, then doesn’t that render the entire Bielema proposal moot as it is already basically in place.

    Secondly, if there isn’t a mandated elapsed time per play, then why doesn’t Richt go back to his roots and implement more of the no huddle?

    • I’m not sure how diligent the SEC is about enforcing that rule these days. And note that Bielema is calling specifically for a substitution period.

      As for your second question, you’d have to ask Mike Bobo.😉

    • Georgia has been running more of a hurry-up and wait offense. They have a quick pace to the line of scrimmage, but then they will take 20-30 secs with audibles. Discourages defensive substitutions and forces the defense to reveal, but gets Georgia in the right play. I think Richt (and Bobo) are still ahead of the game.

      • And if I’m not mistaken, that was part of our hurry up when Greene ran it. Not the rapid fire plays as much as hustling to the line and getting set quick so the defense doesn’t have time to catch it’s breath in a huddle.

        • Governor Milledge

          I think the main difference is that there is a lot more sideline checking by the QB than there was under Greene. But on the plus side, the more sideline checks there are, the less the playcalling depends on a low game-experienced QB (which bodes well for the Bryce Ramsey era)

  2. RP

    I would like to see the NCAA slow down the Oregon type stuff. I don’t mind offenses going no huddle and going fairly fast, but the officials need to allow time for the defense to get the call in and get set. The really fast offenses are trying to beat a defense by starting the play before they are set. It’s like quick-pitching a guy in baseball. I just don’t think that’s how the game should be played.

    • Yep, this is the version of the no-huddle to me that is unfair to the defense. I don’t like Bielma’s idea of a “substitution period” because it gives the defense a chance to make a substitution at a time when the offense is ready to go.

      • Macallanlover

        Agree, the only time a play should be allowed before the defense has time to quickly set is a spike to stop the clock.

        • Bulldawg165

          So I suppose if they were going to pull a video-game-esque fake spake they would have to wait until the defense was set, which would therefore give away their trick play, right?

          I don’t see what the big deal is. If the offense has time to get set then so does the defense. The line of scrimmage is at the same spot for both of them you know

    • Bobby

      I’m not a fan of Oregon-style offense, either. Hell, I don’t particularly like the spread. That being said, I don’t think the rules should be adjusted to make it easier for defenses. Defensive coaches need to be more innovative, both in terms of scheme and recruitment.

      If they don’t have time to sub in different personnel, then they should recruit more versatile players that don’t need to be subbed out as much; if you enjoy having a 350 lb NT on early downs, then you make your bed on passing downs when you can’t get a speedier 300 lb guy in there. They should run schemes in which they can shift the versatile players around (think JHC playing SS and nickel). They should disguise schemes more so that offenses will be gambling just as much when they run a play.

      Crying about not being able to sub in players, though, is getting a bit old.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      +1. The Oregon style of play is a chicken-sh!t offense, the object of which is to tire out a D and score easy points and win the game on the cheap all because the team doesn’t have the skill, talent, size and balls to play REAL FOOTBALL. It’s a trick! If a team wants to play fast to get in more offensive plays per game fine, let’em play fast. But not at the expense of throwing out the essence of what football is really all about. Give the D a chance to substitute. Either that or make everybody play both ways.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    Well, if you can’t keep up, complain that the game isn’t fair. What could be more red blooded American than that?

    • Cojones

      Yep. You would think that the word “compete” would come to mind. As I recall, much of our D’s problems have emanated from trying to get subs in fast enough to get set before the snap; most obvious in the SECCG. And Saban’s complaining?

  4. Heathbar09

    Spurrier gonna spur….

  5. mccook2002

    Yes, and fast-breaks in basketball should be eliminated as well. Simply not fair for the slow teams to have to play defense.

  6. 69Dawg

    Or we could stop all the pissing and moaning and just go back to the old days of no substitutions. These guys are only in shape to play for a few plays and that’s the problem. Rugby and soccer for the most part go all the way with the same guys and they run all the time. Our football has evolved into on Defense 3 or 4 sumo wrestlers backed up by 2 or three regular wrestlers and assorted speed guys. On Offense you have 5 sumo’s 1 or 2 regular wrestlers and the rest speed guys. The Sumo’s are having trouble running imagine that.

    • Ironically, actual sumo wrestlers are in way better shape than those lineman.

    • SCDawg

      That is an excellent point. An article I saw claims that in 1980 there were only 3 guys in the NFL who weighed more than 300 lbs. There are around 15 guys on the 2013 UGA roster who are 300 or more. And many more in the 290’s who are only a candy bar or two short of three bills.

  7. DavetheDawg

    The dude has been in Conference not even 9 months and already he’s trying to convert us to the B1G Turtle. That’s some kind of arrogance…

    • shane#1

      Right on! If I get tired of watching the sidewalk crack there is always B1G football. Keep that slow crap up North willya.

  8. AusDawg85

    Getting beat on a no-huddle drive? Call. Time. Out.

    Or fake an injury!

    • Bulldawg165

      Pretty solid counter point. Your first suggestion, not your second😉

      • BMan

        Agreed on both counts. Was scrolling down the comments to see if anyone would post those two points before I did. I know that faking an injury is considered unsportsmanlike, but the guy will have to come off for a play, so there’s some strategy involved.

    • RP

      It seems likely that if the hurry-up offense is here to stay in football, then the fake injury will become a commonly accepted strategy just like in soccer.

  9. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Bielema is right. It takes more energy to play D and coaches should be able to substitute when players get tired.

  10. “I’m a Bielemer” by Bret

    I thought no-huddle was only true in fairytales
    Meant for someone else but not for me
    No-huddle was out to get me
    That’s the way it seemed
    Meant for someone else but not for me
    Disappointment haunted all my dreams
    Then I saw Nick’s face
    Now he’s a Bielemer
    Not a trace of doubt in my mind
    I’m in love
    I’m a Bielemer
    I couldn’t leave me if I tried

  11. Cojones

    Bielema’s already looking for a bye,
    And I got high, I got high,

    Was going to help Porker fans with Bi,
    but I got high, I got high.
    Was gonna teach him the thrill of the swill,
    but I got high, I got high.
    He decided to go for the defensive drill,
    so I got high, I got high.

    ……The ‘Nesian sings on an internet site that recently bid goodbye to an 82-yr old who recorded that song before she passed away. God bless her.

    • It’s time for you to check in with ground control🙂

      • Cojones

        Wait. Didn’t have the hookah set that was available last time that was heard. Fannie Mae and Priscilla give it a thumbs up as a smokin’ song. Their usual fare is Classical for Weds nite choir practice. The Fourth of July can’t get here fast enough. That’s when the classical stations play dat rousing good celebratory music that perks up the girl’s voices.

        Think we can send some of that shit to Bielema?

  12. Go Dawgs!

    I’m confused… doesn’t the offense have big guys on the line who may be at risk of “injury” because of fast-paced play, too? Give me a freaking break, Bielema, Saban, et al. You want to slow these teams down because you’re afraid they’re going to make you look bad on the scoreboard. Trying to hide behind this flimsy BS player safety excuse is beneath you. Just say what you mean for crying out loud. If the big daddies up front on the offensive line can handle it, then your big defensive linemen can, too. And if they can’t, then you’d better get them out running. Or, hell, let them score. You get a nice leisurely walk back to the sideline then.

  13. Slaw Dawg

    Whatever Richt’s opinion is, I’m glad he doesn’t bellyache in public about every new (or old) practice he thinks may hurt his team. When did the SEC wind up with so many crybaby coaches?