“The game is so much faster now.”

This piece is getting attention because of Herbstreit’s accusation that defensive coaches are reacting to the pace of no-huddle offenses by cheatin’.

“No one is talking about this, but look for more fake injuries by the defense,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. “I’ve talked to defensive coaches. These guys are actually practicing faking injuries in practice.”

But that’s really on the officials, isn’t it?  And if James Franklin is correct about this…

“You watch time and time again, not everybody is set when the ball is snapped, and they can’t officiate like that because they can’t keep up with the pace of the game,” Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said. “I don’t really have a concern with the styles. I just want to make sure we’re all playing by the same rules.”

… then it’s not exactly one side that’s getting away with gamesmanship.

Anyway, that’s not the part that interests me.  This is:

There’s an extremely valuable player in college football these days. His position name may differ at each school from nickel back to strong safety to star to outside linebacker — this assumes he even exists on some defenses — but his attributes are similar.

He stands about 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He can run, defend in space, play man coverage and blitz.

“You’re going to see this year more emphasis on the hybrid defensive player,” Herbstreit said. “These offenses that go tempo, they’re predicated on numbers in the box. Saban can’t get six defensive backs on the field on third-and-eight like he wants to. You have to run the same defense with the same personnel. You need versatility, guys who can be physical and run.”

I don’t know about you, but when I read that, my mind turned to a certain player with a hyphenated name who won’t be seeing the field Saturday night for Georgia.  And then I thought about how Nebraska’s hurry-up made Georgia’s defense look disorganized with its substitutions in the Cap One game.  I hope Clemson doesn’t give me cause to curse that blunt.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

15 responses to ““The game is so much faster now.”

  1. TomReagan

    The hybrid player has been a key for a few years now. We may nominally be a 3-4 team, but when a minority of the teams you play run conventional offenses, then the nickel package becomes the de facto base defense — and the hybrid guy may let you get away with the base against spread teams a little more and to run nickel more against conventional offenses.

    On the point about offenses not being set, I agree that’s been creeping in over the last few years. My biggest problem with that type of thing is how officials are letting men in motion begin moving towards the line of scrimmage before the snap. You see us do it most often when guys are coming in to crack back on linebackers. It’s just bending in right before the snap, but this isn’t Canadian football and it needs to stop.

    Finally, how come I haven’t read more than one or two mentions of how Richt tried to bring the hurry up offense to the SEC when he first got here and how the SEC officials shut him down and made the offense wait for defensive substitutions? Do reporters have no memory at all? And why doesn’t Richt get any credit for being way ahead of the curve on that one?


  2. To prevent faking injuries: If you have an injury inside of 5 minutes remaining in each half, you must use a timeout. If you have no timeouts, you can only substitute for the injured player unless the offense substitutes.

    The officials absolutely must force the offense to get set. That seems pretty fundamental.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Obviously there is a fundamental difference of opinion on this issue. The D ought to be given time to substitute, period. What teams like Oregon do is try to gas the D with the hurry-up so that they can score cheap points. THAT”S cheating IMHO. Simple solution: If you want to play fast so you can get in more offensive plays, fine. Play fast. But if the D wants to substitute the D gets a certain amount of time to do so between plays (15 seconds or so) and the ref stands over the ball after marking the spot until the D substitutes, then blows the whistle and backs off. The outcome of the game should not be decided by a trick, and that is exactly what is going on with the hurry-up as practiced by some. I don’t really blame some for coaching their team to fake injuries because they are just fighting fire with fire.


      • I agree with your suggestion, and I think that idea already has some traction in the coaching community. I don’t necessarily agree that going fast is a trick or cheating, but I think there should be a fifteen second period (or some amount of time) after each play where the ball is spotted, and the defense can substitute/get their play/whatever before the ball can be snapped.


      • Coastal Dawg

        If the D had 15 seconds to get their UBS in, we don’t even get the last play off in the SECC. One big reason football is better than baseball is because the offense controls the speed of the game.

        Oregon really targets DBs with this. The run WRs all over the place to wear out the DBs. When they do sub in WRs, DBs typically don’t get subbed out like the front seven. They challenge the opponents conditioning and dept.

        I agree 100% about officials getting pretty liberal about the O getting set and motion guys cheating toward the LOS.


    • Silver Creek Dawg

      I believe that is the rule in the NFL, only it applies to the last 2 minutes in each half.


  3. Joe Schmoe

    Once again, this is typical Georgia. This year we only have 2 suspensions for the opener but they are in the two areas that we could afford it the least – Place Kicker and DB. Very frustrating how bad our luck seems to be with these kinds of things.


    • Russ

      Don’t worry. I fully expect 1-2 suspensions for the Sakerlina game due to overzealous officials trying to show off their shiny new targeting rule on national TV for a new season.


  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    The game is also too fast for TV…have you noticed the motion blur when Marshall makes a hard cut?


  5. uglydawg

    The “”Rover Back”, “Roving Linebacker” “Monster Back”, etc has been around since the 1960’s. Leaner, quicker and meaner..They can’t block you if you “outquick” them….I think this was The Bears philosophy (at least somewhat).


  6. Spike

    I miss Ogletree already.


  7. NC Dawg

    Can anybody remember the last season that we DIDN’T open with at least one suspended player? I’m afraid I can’t.


  8. Comin' Down The Track

    To be fair, I always thought BVG was developing our players in the hybrid mold and that it was a good idea.


  9. David K

    The flip side of this is our offense will absolutely give defenses fits. I like Gurley’s chances bulldozing defenses with hybrid linebackers and extra safeties on the field. He’ll eat their lunches. Then when defenses go heavier to stop our punishing run game, Murray should pick them apart. Our offense will be deadly this year if we stay healthy.