The sum of all Saban’s fears

Okay, now that the player safety justification for the proposed substitution rule has been widely mocked/debunked in the press and in coaching circles, let’s get back to the reason it was cited in the first place – it’s nothing more than a means to an end.

In the NCAA’s non-rules change years, proposals can only be made for student-athlete safety reasons or modifications that enhance the intent of a previous rules change.

It was the only way the Rules Committee could bring it up now.  Which begs the question, what’s the damned hurry?

That question is only augmented by the appearance of one Nick Saban before the committee.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Alabama coach Nick Saban voiced their concerns about the effects of up-tempo, no-huddle offenses on player safety to the NCAA committee that passed a proposal to slow down those attacks.

Neither Bielema nor Saban were on the committee and they did not vote on the proposal passed Wednesday to allow defenses time to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock.

NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding said Thursday that Bielema was at the meeting in Indianapolis as a representative of the American Football Coaches Association.

“Coach Saban asked for the opportunity to meet with the committee and talk about this,” Redding said. “It’s not routine, but it’s not unique, either.”

Yeah, so where were the voices of coaches opposed to the rule change?  Judging from the reactions of some, it sounds like none of those folks knew there was a need to raise their voices in the first place.

Briles added that the proposal came “out of the blue.”

“If they’re going to change anything in my mind, change it to a 35-second [play] clock,” Briles said. “People don’t want to come sit in the stands and watch the clock move.”

The proposal will be submitted to the membership for comment before it lands with the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP, see roster here). The 11-member panel is scheduled to meet March 6 — most likely by conference call — to consider the proposal. A majority vote of those 11 members will decide whether it becomes a rule in time for the 2014 season, according to a PROP member.

“I didn’t know [the proposal] was coming,” said that member, who did not want to be identified. “It will be interesting to see the fallout.”

Based on what we’ve already seen in a day, no shit, Sherlock.

So, again, where’s the fire?  Does Nick Saban feel that threatened by HUNH offenses?  (If so, Finebaum ought to have a field day with that.)

Perhaps this encapsulates the real debate best:

“Should we allow football to be a continuous game?” Saban asked. “Is that the way the game was designed to play?”

A person with knowledge of the meeting said Saban addressed the rules committee on the topic. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. Bielema, in his role as a representative of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), participated in the discussions but does not have a committee vote. Through a spokesman, Bielema declined comment. Saban could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, several coaches who employ uptempo offenses told USA TODAY Sports the proposal took them completely by surprise.

The answer to Saban’s question, according to Rodriguez and others who want to play faster, is yes. They consider fast football to be superior entertainment. It is also undoubtedly an equalizer, with speedy skill players forcing defenses to play from sideline to sideline – and then to keep doing it, over and over, at high rpm.  [Emphasis added.]

Alabama recruits at a higher level than any program in the country.  It’s got resources available to it that only a few other schools can compete with, let alone match.  Coaches employing HUNH schemes are doing so in the belief that it’s the best means they have of countering the Tide’s personnel advantage (or, to be fair, any school that recruits at a higher level).  It seems to work, too.

Coaches like Sumlin and Malzahn are invested in this in their recruiting – just look at how quickly Malzahn was able to turn Auburn around last season with most of the same offensive personnel Malzahn previously recruited that Chizik couldn’t function with in 2012.  And their schools are invested in those coaches.  Saban’s not just moving against how the game is played, but he’s trying to screw with his peers’ livelihoods.  I don’t think that’s gonna go down real well.

I’m not blaming Saban for trying, mind you.  All’s fair in love, war and NCAA rulemaking.  But pushing through a major change in the rules based on the desire of a powerful coach with little thought as to the justification or the ramifications strikes me as another example of that NCAA ham-handedness we’ve come to know and love.

Heckuva job, Markie.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

75 responses to “The sum of all Saban’s fears

  1. mdcgtp

    I think it is naive to assume that Saban’s influence did not play a role. On the other hand, as I have said when this topic comes up, he is 100% spot on in the question he asks.

    “Do we want this to be a continuous game?”

    I think it is equally naive to think he (or any other good coach) is not capable of adapting to the faster pace.

    The bottom line for me is I believe it is an exploitation of the rules that gives the offense and unfair advantage. Just as pitchers mounds were lowered, bump and run coverage has been curtailed, and lineman’s use of hands has been liberalized, rules can change to shape the game. Personally, I would LOVE for them to adopt this rule with a 15 second time period off the play clock (you could hold the game clock for 5 extra seconds if the goal is to allow a team time a fair chance of mounting a come back).

    To be clear, what Briles, RichRod, Sumlyn, Malzahn and Freeze are saying is this, “we want to play at a pace that does NOT allow the defense to be ready all the time.” Keep in mind that even on a basic dive play defenders and defensive backs are running down field or across the far more than the WRs across the line from them.

    Thus, Saban’s question is spot on…Is this what we want the game to be?

    • Connor

      I don’t think Nick Saban, king of over-signing, gray-shirting, and the medical hardship waiver, is in a position to pontificate on “what we want the game to be.”

      • I agree with your comment about his roster management practices, but this issue is about what happens between the lines. He isn’t some curmudgeon who thinks every game should be like Bama-LSU ’11 in Baton Rouge. He absolutely has a right to make the comment about what he thinks football should be.

        • Hackerdog

          I think Saban is the king of hypocrites. He has used the letter of NCAA rules to subvert the spirit of those same rules. The rules limited recruiting of high school kids. But the rules didn’t limit “bumping into” them at their schools. So, Saban started accidentally bumping into all kinds of 5-star kids. The NCAA had to respond by creating the Saban Rule, that now limits bumping into kids at their schools.

          The NCAA has rules allowing schools to keep seriously injured players on scholarship without hurting the football team. Saban subverted that by treating medical hardships as a tool to cut players who were underperforming.

          And now, he’s trying to cast aspersions on coaches for actually following the spirit of the rules. The rules allow offenses to play fast. The rules allow offenses to limit the substitutions of the defense, by foregoing substitution themselves. That’s not Kevin Sumlin cleverly finding a loophole in a rule that can be turned 180 degrees against its intention, ala Saban. That’s Kevin Sumlin playing football within the clear and express rules of the sport.

          It’s an outrage.

          • +1.

            It’s hard to take the guy seriously when he has made a living out of exploiting loopholes and pushing rules to their perverted edges to gain an advantage.Especially when the “advantage” of the HUNH is within the rules. Reeks of the boy who cried wolf too many times.

            • mdcgtp

              I think this a great thread, but remove saban from the discussion for a moment. There is no doubt that one could argue that by oversigning and “processing” he has gamed the rules to his favor in a manner that could absolutely be ARGUED is against the intent of the 25/80 rule. If the NCAA really wanted there are a NUMBER of measures that could be passed that would effectively END the practice of over signing. They choose not to. That said, just because Saban gets away with oversigning does not mean asking the following two questions should not be done. Two wrongs DON’t make a right.

              1)is this what we want the game to be?
              2)does HUNH provide an unfair advantage to the offense?

              those are the questions, and rational minds can disagree on the answer, but for my purposes Saban is irrelevant to the discussion. My primary concern is the competitive balance of the game. Ultimately, I actually think there is a secondary effect of the HUNH. I believe teams spend so much time dealing with getting accustomed to pace that they don’t actually have good fundamentals. I believe there is a tackling problem across college and pro football, which accentuates the offense’s advantage.

              Ultimately, I don’t find the “innovation” of the spread based offenses (either air raid or option based) to be particularly fun to watch. they run the same plays over and again, and I find it boring. That said, I think the elements of the offense are interesting and I enjoy seeing them incorporated into more complex schemes to make the game interesting, but that is my personal aesthetic preference.

              Ultimately, i think the decision should be based on competitive balance within the game. Unfortunately, I recognize that I don’t really have a shred of evidence to support my view other than the fact that fast pace teams have the illusion of explosiveness but actually have lower yards per play.

              • Hackerdog

                Actually, the top 5 in yards/play last year were FSU, Oregon, Baylor, TAMU, and Ohio St. So, fast offenses got both more plays, and more yards/play.

                Interesting fact is that, tied at fifth with Ohio St. was Bama with significantly fewer plays.

                Personally, I think most of the hand wringing about offenses beating up on defenses to be a tempest in a teapot. It’s cyclical. Offense gets the upper hand, then defenses adjust. Not so long ago, people were wondering if Saban’s scheme had stopped high scoring offenses for good. Then, offenses adjusted. It’s the circle of life.

                Look at the recent Super Bowl. The best QB in history was directing the highest scoring offense in history under the rules that were more biased towards the offense than any time in history. And the Broncos got stuffed by a suffocating defense. I sure am glad they didn’t panic before the game and put in some rule changes to help the defense out. It turns out they didn’t really need much help.

                • Personally, I think most of the hand wringing about offenses beating up on defenses to be a tempest in a teapot. It’s cyclical. Offense gets the upper hand, then defenses adjust. Not so long ago, people were wondering if Saban’s scheme had stopped high scoring offenses for good. Then, offenses adjusted. It’s the circle of life.

                  Agreed. That’s why I asked the question in the post. And you know Saban is a student of the game and is aware of that. (And that ballyhooed 2014 recruiting class is supposedly geared to defend HUNH attacks.) So what’s behind this? Frustration over being made to change? His sense of football aesthetics being offended? I don’t get it.

                  • Cojones

                    Don’t you think it’s just the personality of an overachiever, looking for the smallest and largest of advantages that he can try to control, taking CFB to an absurdity of perfection that only he will be able to play toward ? Each and every time he moves, it’s calculated. We don’t have to be upset by his actions; rather, we should just be there every time he moves; counter his moves and have our CFB year without exhibiting paranoia whenever he pees on the lawn.

                  • I wish you and Hacker were right, that it’s just a cyclical thing, that nothing core and fundamental to the game has taken place, and defenses will adjust, etc..

                    But I don’t think so. I will say I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t see it, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. When offenses are allowed to go so fast that even the officials themselves cannot get set and in position for the play, much less the defenses, something is bad wrong.

                    This is about offensive coaches who want an unfair advantage over the defense. And the advantage those coaches desire is one that undoubtedly has the potential to change the game as we’ve known it for more than 125 years. And for the worse.

                    But of course, they don’t care. They’re selfish, and are thinking of themselves. The TV people care about ratings. They don’t care. Administrators care more about dollars. And so on. But almost gone now are those leaders who have looked after the game for the last 50 years. A new generation of leaders has emerged.

                    And if the last several years are any indication, they aren’t up to the task.

                    • I should say that the cycle is part of it, didn’t mean to omit that out of the discussion.

                      We’re definitely in an offensive cycle, with the development of QB’s and WR’s on a huge upswing, similar to the offensive cycle we saw in the very early 1990’s, after holding had been made legal.

                      That’s certainly part of what’s happening now. But the fundamental fairness and the integrity of the game itself, core things that have made the game great, remain threatened. And that must still be addressed.

                      The offensive advantage that occurred when holding was legalized changed the game. And it was good. Defenses did catch up, by developing cover corners, and so on.

                      But this is a different animal this time. When one side of the ball is not allowed adequate time to be ready to play, you have changed the game fundamentally.

                  • Hackerdog

                    Well, what’s easier than adjusting to HUNH attacks? Rigging the game so that you don’t have to.

                    Seriously. Saban’s scheme and recruits are geared so that Bama, like most teams, are vulnerable to HUNH schemes. Coming up with adjustments to his scheme, teaching it to his players, and recruiting new players to play in the new way will take 2-3 years. Saban doesn’t have time for that shit.

                    So, new rule in place to limit HUNH schemes and let Saban run his personnel groupings on and off the field, and we’re back to the natural order. All’s right in the world.

        • LorenzoDawgriquez

          Acutally, he is a curmudgeon.

          • He may be a curmudgeon for other reasons, but I don’t think he’s being one about this particular issue. His rationale of player safety is baseless, but the perspective of whether football should be a continuous sport is reasonable.

    • More accurately, what Briles, Rodriguez, Sumlin, Malzahn and Freeze are saying is that they want to inconvenience Saban’s ability to substitute personnel groupings to maximize Alabama’s depth advantage. The nerve of some people…

      • mdcgtp

        we are both right here…they want to run plays before the defense is ready AND mute depth advantages. I get it.

        that does not change the real question. is this what we want the game to be? do we believe the offense should be able run at any pace such that pace is a significant factor in the offense’s plan of attack. for me the answer is unequivocally NOT. I think it is bad football and a ruins the game for me.

        put safety aside for a moment. if the NCAA and NFL were intellectually honest, they would view their game like cigarettes. Put a warning label on it and be done with it.

        otherwise, every other rule change aimed at safety should be viewed through the prism of how it affects the game and can the benefits of safety be achieved without distorting the game. We saw this season that not being able to hit a receiver to dislodge a ball is ridiculous.

        the question is what is the solution…do you allow for more contact down field prior to the ball being thrown (effectively legalizing pass interference…that seems like a bad idea!). Maybe you call more holding in the OL such that downfield passing requires good blocking…of course, that takes the game EVEN MORE in the direction of the sub prime offense crowd that use shotgun exclusively.

        slow the game down. if the Briles crowd are so smart an innovative, they should be able to identify the next schematic advantage.

        • Hackerdog

          So, the rules should be changed so that Briles is tasked to conform to Saban’s preferred style of play, and not the other way around? Sounds fair.

          • mdcgtp

            i guess this highlights the point the Senator makes below. Remove the individuals from the debate. Honestly, in hindsight, my last paragraph above was throw away.

            the real point is how fast should the game be. It is not about briles or saban or anyone. its about the competitive balance of the game between offense and defense. i believe HUNH where the defense’s don’t have time to make calls and get set is a neither fair NOR particularly enjoyable to watch. Do you really want to see an offense making a play because the defense was not “ready” or do you enjoy the audible/counter adjustment and execution, etc.? Personally I prefer the latter.

            if you want to level the playing field of talent, reduce scholarships to allow 60 scholarship players and HARD cap of 15 signed LOIs per year. NO BACK COUNTING, FORWARD COUNTING, or signing guys who won’t qualify. 15 LOIs. if you are not one of those 15, you cant receive aid of any kind from said institution and play football. if you don’t qualify or are not admitted, you are down to 14.

            • ” Do you really want to see an offense making a play because the defense was not “ready” or do you enjoy the audible/counter adjustment and execution, etc.? Personally I prefer the latter.”

              I strongly agree, though admittedly it’s personal opinion and I would guess we might be in the minority. At times it seems like the offenses are playing chess and the defense is trying to make do with a bunch of black and red round pieces. Yes, some of that comes down to coaching. But the scales are clearly tilted in the favor of offenses right now, I do think a bit of rebalancing of those scales is in order.

              To Senator’s point though, it can’t be done in a cock-eyed manner or it will never be successfully pushed through.

            • Hackerdog

              If you’re simply arguing for your personal preference, then I understand.

              The NCAA could significantly curtail the number of scholarships. Although, that won’t level the field as you think it would. In fact, Saban would be all for that rule. He’s proven that he can manipulate the scholarship rules to get more kids through his program than other coaches who aren’t willing to cut kids, or circumvent the rules like Saban will. The stricter the scholarship limits, the more of an advantage Saban has.

              The NCAA could simply pass a “one play per 30 seconds” rule that would eliminate HUNH. That would slow the game down. Although I fail to see how a chess match would ensue. A team with depth, like Bama, could simply run out their 400lb defensive tackles on short-yardage situations, and then trot out their pass rush specialists for obvious passing situations. Yawn.

              Personally, I get more excited by seeing the innovation within the rules. Malzahn is running an offense more closely related to Pop Warner’s single wing than to more modern offenses. Even though our defense was often exposed by the newer schemes, I like to think that Pruitt can come up with some ways to stop those schemes like Seattle’s defense shut down Denver’s historic offense in the Super Bowl.

              One thought, along the lines of your scholarship limit idea, would be to limit the size of players. Dictate that college football players couldn’t weigh more than 200 pounds. That would certainly make the game safer. No more 245 pound linebackers with a head of steam cracking into a running back, or receiver. Just have a bunch of guys who are all about the same size, just as colleges did 100 years ago. Maybe that would actually require some innovation to deal with size uniformity.

            • Hackerdog

              For those worrying about the pace of the game destroying the sport, I found a few nuggets like this quote:

              “We are now getting plays off every 12 or 13 seconds,” said Ohio State’s coach. “We are moving so fast I frequently can’t get a play in from the sidelines. We’ll hit 100 plays a game soon.”

              No, that wasn’t Urban Meyer. That was Woody Hayes. In 1968. The average number of plays in a game in 1968 was 148.7. That average in 2012 was 142.7.

              I guess they didn’t play “real” football back in the 1960s. We need to change the rules to go back to the 1950s, or 1930s, or something.

              • Just curious. Thought I’d throw in what I found out there. Results may differ.
                Gold standard: Marshall led the FBS with an incredible 92.8 plays per game. Clemson led BCS conference schools with 85.3 plays per game and scored 41 points per game. The Tigers finished 11-2 and are ranked No. 8 in the AP preseason poll.

                Other success stories: Baylor (84 plays per game) and Texas A&M (83.5) joined Clemson in the top 10 in the FBS in plays per game and points per game. Clemson, Oregon, Baylor and Texas A&M combined for a 42-10 record. Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy for the Aggies last season, a year after Robert Griffin III won the award for the Bears.

                Plays per game vs. time of possession: Plays per game is the rage, but last year’s BCS championship game featured Alabama and Notre Dame, two schools that ranked in the top 10 among BCS schools in time of possession. The Irish (71.2) finished 75th in plays per game; the Crimson Tide (66.3) ranked 114th.

                Pro-to-college transition: In 2012, Penn State ran 79.3 plays per game under first-year coach Bill O’Brien, a former New England offense coordinator. That was up from 69.5 plays per game in 2011. The Nittany Lions will continue to run a fast-paced offense in O’Brien’s second year.”


            • Cosmic Dawg

              Good points, all of the above, mdcgtp. By the way, offseason question – what does your handle mean?

        • I don’t have a problem with the debate. It’s worthwhile.

          I have a major problem with the half-assed way this was dealt with by the Rules Committee. If Saban would take a half-step back, he’d realize he was poorly served. I expect the proposal will be shot down because of the process and that the underlying issue won’t be faced head on because of that.

          • Debby Balcer

            The process stunk. If you really want to debate then all parties should be notified of the issue being discussed. It should fail this year because of the process. If they want to change something everyone should be able to debate in the open.

        • Paul

          Well that’s what you call pass interference now. When I played the game we could take out a receiver anywhere on the field as long as the ball had not been thrown. And we did. Offensive linemen could not use their hands. It was a defense oriented game then. Most rule changes in the past twenty years have favored offenses. Scoring sells tickets. What does and does not happen usually comes down to money. Not safety. Not the integrity of the game. Money. If we continue to allow the super
          fast offense we’re basically playing contcact basketball with pads on. Which is fine if that’s what we want. Been working for the Big 12 for a while now.

    • uglydawg

      I’m in agreement with you mdcgtp. I too feel that HUNH is an exploitation of the rules.
      Those who defend that exploitation should not complain when defenses exploit the rules to get injury time-outs to even things up. Somebody gets a little hurt on every play…whether or not to lay on the ground until the pain subsides is subjective to the player who’s hurting.
      Intentional fouling in basketball is an exploitation of rules and is the main reason I quit watching roundball..(BTW, I guess BB would be an example of a continuous sport?).

      • +1 regarding the injury timeouts and the fans who boo the player who is down are just classless. I would like to see those fans take on a 300-pound lineman for 70-80 snaps per game.

        I don’t think the HUNH is an exploitation of the rules, but I do think that the “run to the line and snap the ball” before the defensive linemen can even take a stance is ridiculous. I don’t think teams should have to huddle on every play, but to have a timed benchmark for the snap outside the last 2 minutes of each half isn’t unreasonable. The rule only is in effect when the full 40 seconds are on the play clock. I actually think it’s a good compromise that still allows teams to go no huddle but may give the defense an opportunity to get their signals in from the sideline.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I’m with mdcgtp on this, too. If I wanted to see rugby, I’d go to a rugby game. I want to see football. The HUNH as practiced by the Oregons of the world is a trick with the sole objective being to gas the D and score cheap TDs when the D is tired. That’s why Its proponents are objecting so strenuously. If they wanted to be fair about this they would be fine with a 10 second substitution window for the D.

      • Hackerdog

        There is a difference between running plays quickly and faking injuries to get time outs. The rules allow an offense to run plays quickly. The rules don’t allow players to fake injuries.

        • uglydawg

          “Injury” is subjective. The rules allow a player to stay on the field and await assistance if he’s hurt. Players that , in the past, may have struggled to avoiid having to use that allowance are now deciding to use “take adavantge of it”… I agree it is happening.
          That threshold is different for everyone.. While it is abused, it can be cited as a “allowed” as long as the player believes he is hurt. I just want to see fairness.

          • Hackerdog

            If a player were actually hurt, but could limp off the field, I wouldn’t accuse him of manipulating the rules just to stop play if he stayed on the field and made the trainers come to him. The rule doesn’t require a broken bone to stop play.

            What most people are talking about are the kids who aren’t hurt at all, but they look over at the sidelines, get a signal, and drop like a soccer player. Auburn did it against Arkansas and UGA did it against Clemson. That kind of fakery is against the rules. Unfortunately, while the rule book forbids it, I don’t think it provides for any penalty if and when it happens.

            The speed of play, on the other hand, is nowhere in that category. The rule simply states that, after the ball is whistled into play by the officials, the offense has to snap it before the play clock expires. The rule doesn’t add, “but not too fast.” There’s nothing untoward about snapping it earlier in the play clock rather than later.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Yes, that’s what I want the game to be. Georgia likes to play fast, too.

    • To be clear, what Briles, RichRod, Sumlyn, Malzahn and Freeze are saying is this, “we want to play at a pace that does NOT allow the defense to be ready all the time.”

      That’s the way I see it. The rules have been tweaked to favor the offense for at least 50 years now. What we are seeing now is the ‘sum of all those rules’ have finally crossed the line that determines the fundamental integrity of the game.

      Football should be a game where the defense plays an equally important role in the outcome of games. Not these 64-57 shootouts we’re seeing, where neither team has much of a realistic chance to stop the other, and the game is determined by who is lucky enough to have the last possession. That’s more like basketball than football.

      Saban is right. And he has my full support and appreciation for taking the lead on this critical issue.

    • Gaskilldawg

      Yes, that is what I would like the game to be. I am more of a basketball fan than football fan so my bias is in favor of a continuous game. I respect the fact you d out disagree, though. Different tastes for different folks.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    While I agree with your assessment of the NCAA being weak-kneed when presented with the Process, I wonder about one thing you said.

    “It’s got resources available to it that only a few other schools can compete with, let alone match.”

    Is it not so much can’t compete with as chose not to?

    Bama makes institutional choices few other schools make…one of those few would be Oklahoma, which I suspect may have had something to do with Da Boss’s soto voce appearance before the committee.

    • Explain to me how Ole Miss, for example, could choose to compete with Alabama on a resource level.

      • If Georgia had their way, it’d be by limiting the resources you’re allowed to use.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        I assumed when you said “It’s got resources available to it that only a few other schools can compete with, let alone match.” you were not referring to Ole Miss, but to other institutions of comparable size and wealth.

        To answer your question about Ole Miss, not a chance in hell, although Hugh Freeze does not seem to know that, yet.

        Not even Bob Stoops has the imperial imprimatur Saban does…in fact, it may be true that no other school gives its football coach the power Saban has, although I don’t know that for fact.

        But the point of my comment is that there are several, some in the SEC which COULD give their football coach that kind of power, but chose not to.

  3. Cojones

    Looks like Saban is running a HUNH on CFB.

    • uglydawg

      And while I’m no fan of Saban, I’d like to see him prevail on this.
      But his argument is being made dishonestly in that he doesn’t admit that this style of offense IS a great equalizer, but instead leans on the injury-risk factor.. Who can argue against more safety for the players, eh Nick?
      I think the better approach would be to say that the HUNH is an exploitation of the rules that gives an unfair substituting advantage to the offense..and it’s not the way the game should be played. It’s the equivalent of intentional fouling in basketball.

  4. I’m not saying I like the proposal as is, but I don’t hate the idea of tilting the scales back towards the D just a bit. Seems like every rule change always benefits the offense somehow……..including the unwritten rule changes such as the fact that the officials all but ignore offensive holding nowadays. And how many times have we seen when offensive pass interference could just as easily be called, but the flag ALWAYS goes against the D if it’s close.

    And if the main reason, or at least a major reason why your offense is good is simply because the D can’t sub, is your offense really that good?

    Again, not saying I support the proposal 100%, but I see some merit to it. Maybe have some sort of compromise where the 10 second window comes into play every time there is a first down. This satisfies the supposed “safety” issue by being able to sub at least every 3 plays or so, but also still gives the offense some advantage by not necessarily letting the D get their specialty packages in on 3rd down. But at least the D could remain fresher throughout the course of the drive and force the offense to earn it a little more.

  5. Joe Schmoe

    Aside from whether this is a good rule change or not, the process with which it has been proposed is what is scary. The fact that the committee would consider making such a fundamental change to the game without conducting some kind of analysis of the impact is ridiculous. It seems from the commentary that many of the members didn’t even know this topic was going to be on the agenda, so they had clearly not had time to do any kind of analysis and due diligence. The way the NCAA does its business just becomes more and more asinine.

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    They could give teams 7 time-outs per half – 2 full and 5 30s. It would still be a lower time-out rate than colege basketball. Or, you ccould give defenses a small guaranteed window to sub, an option offensive coaches already have. Or, you would actually call holding. Or, you could let defensive backs actually hit WRs. Or, you could modify the offensive lineman downfield rule to make it less difficult for Dbs to diagnose running or passing plays. Or….

    We’re legislating defense out of the game. Forget about Nick Saban for a minute and this idea that what’s bad for Nick must be good for CFB. The game is becoming boring. Do we really want CFB to be arena football or Canadian football, where the defense is basically a token unit hoping to get lucky once or twice and give the offense an extra possession? Not me.

    I don’t like watching the offense snap the ball while defenders either sit in a reactive base defense that cedes the offense 5 yards a play or scrambles around in confusion hoping to attempt something more exotic. I don’t consider that football. Sorry. Again, I know plenty of sophisticated and committed fans who do. Just my opinion.


    No change on this if I had a vote. Either your 11 can keep up with theirs or not. You get to sub if they do…what is the issue?

    • Cosmic Dawg

      I think it’s an interesting question why the offense gets to determine when substitutions for both sides may occur in the first place. Why is it that the defense must only take a reactionary role, there?

      • Hackerdog

        Defense, by definition, reacts to the offense. That is the nature of defense.

        • Cosmic Dawg

          They react to the offense, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they should have to wait on the offense in order to change their personnel or strategy. Although, I can see the problems with the alternatives….

    • DawgPhan

      Exactly. People arguing that their delicate football sensabities should be respected.
      Below someone is complaining that defense has to react to the offense. I know it is the silly season but damn this is nonsense.

      This is also something that is happening very rarely. Most teams can snap the ball in under 10 seconds even the ones that really work at it.

      • Cosmic Dawg

        My point was only that a D is disadvantaged already in that it can’t fix personnel packages or schemes that aren’t working on the fly, unlike the offense. I’m not talking about reacting to a play as it’s being run.

  8. Krautdawg

    Maybe there’s a generational gap at work here. I don’t see any problem with the HUNH. I pick 11 players; you pick 11 players; let’s go. How that should be an “exploitation” of the rules is beyond me. “But what if one of your eleven players is much better than one of mine?” Really, Bama? “Uh. sorry — someone might get hurt!!!” Thank you Aunt Saban.

    Also, it’s not like defenses can’t stop the HUNH. Stanford has smashed Oregon two years in a row. Mizzou held Johnny Football to 21 points. If you stop Auburn for less than 5 yards on 1st down, they don’t go uptempo. It’s like Richt said: there’s nothing keeping the defense from making a quick stop.

    It’s up in the air as to whether HUNH is physically harder on O or D players. Check out Michael Bennett’s comments about getting creamed by Mason’s HUNH at the end of the season.

    The problem seems to be the HUNH per se; it’s that Saban can’t deal very well with the HUNH. And that people outside of Ole Miss & Kentucky are figuring that out.

    So fine, let’s insert a 10-second tea-time for you old codgers between plays. But in return, Saban’s cornerbacks can no longer maul receivers for 5 (and unofficially 10) yards off the LOS. Because 21-14 is the same thing as 3-2..

  9. Mr. Tu

    The problem is not the quick snaps. It is lining up quickly to freeze the defense, then having the entire team stand up like Meercats, look at the sidelines for the coach to tell them what to do, then running the play. I am not for limiting the ability for a quick play. I am against “Meercating” Why cant they change the illegal motion rule to make it a penalty when the entire line moves after being set?

      • Mr. Tu

        Because I hate it. I picture the team essentially saying to the sidelines: “Everybody is line up, so what do we do now coach? We cant possibly figure it out ourselves. Please tell us what to do next.”

        I first noticed it with Florida and Tebow. MAybe that is why I hate it so much. At that time, Stafford basically changed the plays at the line himself. Now, at least with Murray, UGA is Meercating and it drives me crazy

  10. The other Doug

    Saban finds every loop hole for Bama to exploit. It’s all well documented, and that’s a big part of his success.

    It’s very Machiavellian of him to work just as hard to limit any advantages his competition have.

  11. Q

    If fans do in fact tune in for high scoring games, then the NCAA would rightly say to hell with Bama’s dynasty, right?

  12. El Dawgo in El Paso

    Why should the HUNH ban not apply in the last two minutes of a half?

    Same thing with roundball, I’ve always found that not calling fouls within the last minute or two “intentional” is ludicrous. Rules are not rules anymore. They are simply ways to make a viewing experience more enjoyable and level the playing field.

  13. Bulldog Joe

    Coach Saban is right. He needs time to substitute his defense.

    I say give him one second.

  14. John Denver is full of shit...


  15. mg4life0331

    LSU stopped em. Hell we should of beat Auburn. Its not some unpossible rocket science of an offense. GDit just whine more Saban. If your team would of played in accordance with the damn process you wouldve won. Oh, thats right your Heisman candidate joke of a QB cant make a play unless its a wide open Wide Out after the defense commits 11 people to the run.

  16. PatinDC

    I hate the increasing specialization on the defense. All the subbing out of defensive specialists was a mess for UGA. I like the rule now. If the offense subs the D gets to sub.

  17. shane#1

    I had enough of the three yards and a cloud of dust offense with Dooley, but I like that he won over 200 games for the Dawgs. So if Hutson likes the HUNH I am for it, if Ramsey can win with the wing T I am for that too. I do think Saban is a whiny little weasel and what he and the NCAA did is an underhanded cheap trick to keep those Bama bucks rolling in. It goes back to the golden rule. Them that has the gold makes the rules.

  18. Aubiece

    Nabas saw his future in the AU drives vs Bama.
    All of the AU TDs were off the HUNH except the last one
    And Chokelahoma toasted Bama with the HUNH
    Saban is all about substituting packages depending on the down and distance
    And he can’t use those packages vs HUNH
    Best way to stop HUNH is force them into 3 and outs
    And it can be done, but not with substitutions
    Nabas would rather take it to a committee to stop it.