I enjoy Gary Danielson’s CBS color work greatly, but, man, when it comes to bigger picture stuff, the guy can be a colossal muttonhead. Mainly, it’s because he’s so bloody stubborn about recent offensive wrinkles. His feelings about the spread offense are well documented – and for some time now – but he’s also got a thing about hurry-up offenses, especially when it comes to how they impact Nick Saban. That, too, is nothing new.
His latest observations about the Alabama-TAMU game are particularly incoherent.
“I’m just not all in on this, OK,” Danielson told The Tim Brando Show. “I have to admit I am more old-school on this than probably everybody else. Speeding up play and tempo has gotten too much credit for why teams are doing well.”
The analyst cited Texas A&M’s win over Alabama last season as an example. He says it wasn’t the pace, but the inability for the Crimson Tide, who lost 29-24, to substitute personnel groupings.
“Tempo had nothing to do with that game,” Danielson said of the Aggies’ win. “There was no hurry up in that game. The reason, I think, Nick Saban doesn’t really love the up-tempo game is because he feels he has an advantage because he’s good with substituted defenses. …
“What that offense does when you go to the line of scrimmage is keeps Nick from using all of his weapons in his mind.”
So tempo had nothing to do with that game, except limit Saban’s use of his resources. Got it.
This is even better.
Danielson has concluded the better team will win if there are more plays in a game, despite the fact that it is the underdog running the faster pace. He cites basketball as an example. An inferior team, he says, in basketball slows the pace, it doesn’t speed it up.
“I think when you play 100 plays, Alabama is going to win way more often than the underdog,” Danielson said. “I just don’t see where it is that much of an advantage.”
Gary, I’ve got news for you: Alabama’s gonna win way more often than the underdog, regardless of the number of plays run in a game. The real issue is whether running more plays gives the not-Alabamas of the college football world a better chance to win games. And given that of the 23 teams that ran over 1000 plays last season (and, yes, I know that’s not the most precise metric to use, but I’m too lazy to dig deeper right now) only one posted a losing record, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it does.
Coaches want to win. If you’ve got fewer resources available than Nick Saban, you get creative and try to get the most out of what you’ve got. This approach is growing because it works. If that offends Danielson and his old-school sensibilities, that’s how it goes.