“But, hell, they’re running another play.”

With regard to the hurry-up, Nick Saban sounds like a man who’s about to embrace the concept of “if you can’t get college football to change the substitution rules beat ’em, join ’em”.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

6 responses to ““But, hell, they’re running another play.”

  1. Rick

    I do not understand this well enough to have my own opinion, but the nature of Saban’s argument is really pushing some sympathetic buttons with me, particularly because he is getting away from the safety angle (which I never really understood). Football is the greatest game in the world because of it is composed of discrete plays in which the offense and defense carefully scheme against the other, attempting to predict moves and exploit weaknesses. Anything that compromises the chess-like nature of the game is a problem for me.

    The hurry up to me seems like it is not so much an exploitation of a particular defense has of the game itself. It’s simply taking advantage of the fact that the defense has to be reactive by not giving them any time to react or the defensive coaches to have any input. If all teams are doing it, then the playing field is level, but I bet outcomes become more arbitrary, less based on the actual talents of the players and coaches. More like baseball, which is so random that it almost ruins the game entirely for me.


    • Hackerdog

      I think the hurry up can be just another layer of valid strategy. If anything, Saban is trying to reduce the strategy involved in the game. Alabama probably has the deepest bench in college football. Allowing them to substitute at any time gives them an advantage. Especially when playing a team with less talent, such as Colorado State.

      Allowing the offense to go hurry up does give a bit of an advantage to the offense. If they get a personnel package on the field that matches up well against the defensive alignment, they can go hurry up to deny the defense a good opportunity to substitute.

      Now, the defense does have a few options. They could call timeout. They could also make a quick substitution with players running on/off before the offense can snap. Those strategies aren’t attractive for defensive coaches.

      If more and more teams create these stressors on defenses, then I think the obvious adaptation for defenses will be fewer specialty player types. There will be fewer 350lb run-stuffing tackles and 220lb pass rushing ends/OLBs that are only on the field in certain situations. There will be more 300lb tackles that can play run and pass equally well, and ends that can play well on first down as well as third down.

      What it will force defensive coaches to do is scheme with their base personnel rather than bring in their pass rushers on third and long and bring in their run stuffers on first and second down. I think the chess match will be enhanced.


  2. jntiii

    Fascinating commentary. I was convinced by both of you. If we speed it up enough I do wonder if eventually we’ll just be playing soccer.


  3. uglydawg

    I’m in the camp that sees the hurry-up as exploitation. The problem with my position is that I don’t have an answer when asked “how hurry-up is too much?”..where do you draw the line? Teams have ran hurry-up two minute offenses forever and it’s been accepted. I think the thing that bothers me about the hurry-up is that it just seems unfair to let the offense use rules that were originally meant to keep the game moving at a rate are now being used to exhaust the defensive players to the point that their function is diminished. This seems counter to the concept of fair pla. I realize that wearing the opponent down is a big part of football (for instance pounding one side of the line with a strong running game until it’s tired), but using the clock/tempos seems somehow borderline “right” to me…The answer (if there needs to be one, because I’m admitting I may be wron in my opinion) could be to give each team one or two additonal time outs (short ones..maybe 10 or 15 seconds) to be used anytime during the game , bou only by the defense…or to be able to “split” one of their regular time outs per half into two mini-time outs per half.
    Having said all of this I’m going down the hyocritical road and say that I hope Georgia runs it and wears LSU out. LOL.


  4. uglydawg

    Sorry about all the spelling errors above..the “Leave a Reply” box was jumping around and I couldn’t see what I was typing.