“I don’t think coaches should be making this decision.”

It’s looking more and more apparent that Bielema isn’t going to get his wish granted this year.

Since the rules committee sprung this on coaches Feb. 12, the wounds appear too fresh for the proposal to get serious consideration.

In fact, one official who spoke on condition of anonymity called ruling “D.O.A.”

Major football rules are typically passed in two-year cycles, and this is an in-between year. Football is the rare sport where defenses can’t sub as they wish (must wait for the offense to do so first), so perhaps this proposal, if retooled to accommodate both sides, is worth a robust debate when everyone calms down.

If this gets passed now, riots in the streets.

“If they are wise they will table this thing and have a really good debate about it next year,” said a source involved in next week’s decision-making.

But I’m sensing there may be another way to skin the cat that doesn’t involve a rules change.  Saban expressed a concern related to hurry-up offenses and officials not being in position when the ball is snapped.

“I think sometimes we don’t need to do all the things that they do but I think in some situations the officials controlling the pace of the game in that league has, I think, benefited the players and I would like to see the officials be able to control the pace of the game. I think the officials control the pace of the game in all games, but they don’t in college football.”

Mark Richt echoed that.

“I think we need to have some kind of mechanism to make sure the officials are safely wherever they need to be, and not only safely in the right spot, but also in position to call the game properly,” Richt said. “If we have to slow it down just a tad for that it would make sense to me.”

Blame officials for not keeping up with the pace of the game?  Unpossible!

Coaches complained that from crew to crew and conference to conference, officials were inconsistent about the time it was taking to spot the ball. The 40-second clock solved that problem, with an unintended consequence.

“The pace of the game was now being turned over to the offense,” NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding said. “I don’t think anybody anticipated at the time that would lead to the great proliferation of up-tempo and no-huddle offenses like we see today.”

Coaches want officials to do their job; officials don’t want the responsibility of managing pace.  That’s why Redding likes the 10-second rule proposal.  But why not split the baby by adding another crew member?

Will eight-man officiating crews be the solution defenses are looking for?: The Big 12 wonders.

The Big 12 was the first to experiment with eight instead of seven, getting a one-year trial approval last season from the NCAA and football officiating coordinators.

There’s buzz that leagues won’t need such approval in the future to implement eight-man crews. They can do so at at their own discretion.

The Big 12 is satisfied with eight because a crew can designate the extra official to helping defenses substitute.

The SEC’s looked at an eight-man crew, too.

The SEC experimented with an eight-man officiating crew last spring during Auburn’s A-Day game in an effort to alleviate pressure on crews…

“The eighth official actually helped us,” Steve Shaw, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, said in May. “It really worked pretty well. I don’t think we’re ready to go there just yet but we’re testing it. Some of the coaches said, well, so this eighth official is a way we can go even faster. Really, my answer was, no, the eighth official is not to help you go faster. It’s to help us be more consistent, do our job and allow the umpire and referee do their jobs more effectively.”

Maybe it’s an idea which time has come.  Or will come after the rejection of the 10-second rule.


Filed under The NCAA

12 responses to ““I don’t think coaches should be making this decision.”

  1. Always Someone Else's Fault

    An eighth official might help, but at some point, the rules committee is going to have to find more ways to reward good defense. Example: intentional grounding. A QB running around for 8 seconds right now is a very low risk/high reward proposition for the offense once the initial reads break down. Anyone can get the ball back to the original line of scrimmage, so why not just run around and hope a DB falls down?

    Once you’re out of the tackle box and scrambling around, I would spot the ball where the QB launched it unless a receiver catches it. Maybe you could move it back to the original line of scrimmage if a receiver was able to get a hand on it – but there needs to be something along those lines on a number of fronts.


  2. Erskine

    Noooooooo!!!!!. The SEC cannot/does not have 7 good officials in total. One more bad official is not the answer.


  3. FarmerDawg

    It seems as this conversation continues more and more comes out about cause and effect of previous rules leading to the current tempo, defensive substitution problem in the game. I had not even thought of the change from the 25 second clock effecting game tempo. I really don’t have a huge problem with tempo offense, I just don’t know if good defense can be played in the same game and I do enjoy that.


  4. Good stuff. This is what I’ve said all along. Insane tempo began, and can end, with the officials. Fast is fine. Insane is not.

    This is half the solution. The other half is for the officials to allow reasonable time for the defense to be ready and set to play. Both for fairness, and injury considerations.

    Combined, these two solutions would not kill the HUNH or Fast Pace. Far from it.
    But they would keep the game fair, reasonable, and safe.

    And they require no rule. Or at least they shouldn’t.


  5. 69Dawg

    Eh did anybody watch any Big 12 games and see that the 8th official was the one marking the ball. All I could see was the other 7 getting in position and the 8th spotting the ball. The 8th spotted the ball then went to a position in the offensive back field like the NFL Umpires are doing. So yes it does speed it up even more. The center only needs for the 8th ref to get back of the QB RB then he can snap. I think what will really slow it down will be when one of the officials has a heart attack from the pace of the game. Most of those guys are not in real great shape, although I have not seen that tub of lard umpire that used to work on Curles crew for a few years.


  6. Tom

    Increase the number of challenges to 25 per quarter per coach(assistants as well). Instant replay has shown us how to slow down the game.


  7. SouthGaDawg

    Here’s an idea or maybe this is the angle Saban will take next year – Have extra officials on the sidelines. The offense cannot snap the ball for the first ten seconds so the officials can substitute. Hey, its all about referee safety…