“The process was a bit surprising.”

I made a joke about it before in the context of SEC Media Days, but it’s hard to ignore the personal aspect of the debate over the 10-second substitution rule.  Some of that’s probably the result of the high-handed way the vote was perceived to have been conducted.  Some hackles were raised over the implication that coaches like Bielema and Saban are more concerned about player safety than no-huddle gurus are.

But there’s something else happening here, something that I’m surprised hasn’t gotten more attention paid to it.  Especially because it’s what makes the college football world go ’round.

“Gus (Malzahn) and I were talking (Tuesday); it’s actually taken our time,” Freeze said. “It’s our livelihood…” [Emphasis added.]

You’re screwing with these coaches’ checkbooks.  Hells, yes, they’re going to push back.  And they have – hard.

“… We care about what happens with our sport. Our sport’s at one of the highest peaks of interest from the public opinion that it’s ever been. People are enjoying the games. We’ve kind of structured a nationwide attack of how we’ll go about voices heard before this is final. From our conference, coach (Kevin) Sumlin, Gus, myself and coach (Butch) Jones have led the way the most and coach (Steve) Spurrier. We divided up names that we were going to call that we felt like had an interest in this. It’s kind of been nationwide. It has taken time. We’ve tried to find if there was any documentation out there. We have routinely had a group of us calling the rules committee pretty regularly to continue to stress our opinion of where this is headed.”

I don’t think this unpleasantness is going to settle down any time soon, if for no other reason than that I expect the rules committee to punt the proposal for 2014, but decide to invite further consideration of it for next season.  All kidding aside, this year’s edition of SEC Media Days will be awkward.  Maybe as a peace gesture Slive could suggest realigning the divisions with the HUNH programs on one side and Bielema’s “normal American football” schools in the other.


UPDATE:  Um… it’s possible that Freeze is misreading the level of Spurrier’s enthusiasm on the subject.

Spurrier said he “left a voicemail” with someone on the NCAA rules committee regarding the proposed 10-second rule, which would forbid teams from snapping the football in the first 10 seconds of the play clock. Spurrier is against the rule. Where does it stand with the committee? “I don’t know. I’ve heard they’ve hopefully tabled it, but I’m not sure.”

There’s probably a great Spurrier voicemail parody out there just dying to meet us.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

14 responses to ““The process was a bit surprising.”

  1. The other Doug

    Finebaum and ESPN can’t wait to interview the coaches at SEC media days.


  2. Kevin

    Why am I looking at a gator ad on this blog?


  3. mdcgtp

    this is an awesome post….the Malzahn’s of the world know how they make their money, and quite frankly, making sure the rules of the game allow them to continue to do so is no different than a corporation lobbying against new regulation. You nailed it…they view it as a threat to their earning potential.

    I have to say that I am a bit surprised that Spurrier and Richt have been as vocal as they have been in their opposition. While Richt obviously was one of the early adopters of pace, it does not define our offensive approach as it does for Freeze, Malzahn, Sumlin, et. al. if you take pace away from those guys, my guess is they are forced to actually field competent defenses to win, and my guess is they are not nearly as comfortable with their ability to recruit and field top notch defenses as they are on offense.

    On the other hand, Richt suggesting that officials control the pace of play is an interesting sidelight to the whole thing. Ultimately, I agree that the issue is going to be addressed again in 12 months, and I do believe there will be some change. I think Saban and Bielema badly erred in their approach. Safety should not have been the issue. the argument is a simple one. should an offensive system that does not allow the defense to substitute at will be allowed? where is that line? do we want preparing for pace to be a central thrust of coaching and team preparation? Personally, I don’t know the answer, but I think it would be nice to have some degree of consistency and clarity around such because it would be interesting to know if the emphasis on responding to pace has contributed to the deterioration of defensive fundamentals. I just want defenses to be given a reasonable amount of time to make changes and get their signals called.

    Ultimately, the injury data can always be attacked. My best guess as to why there are fewer injuries associated with HUNH conferences is that they play “less physical” football. Intuitively, running Todd Gurley into the line with a lead blocker is a far more violent play with far more bodies entangled with one another than some type of spread option/air raid type of play. Remember what Gary Danielson said as the teams entered the locker room at halftime of the 2012 SEC CG, “that was a violent half of football.”

    So I think you have to compare the same things. Toward that end, I think Bill Connelly was looking at percent of solo tackles by the defense as a proxy for offense’s “spreading things out.” Toward that end, it is quite possible that HUNH is simply correlated with lower injuries (NOT CAUSING) because the HUNH proponents don’t play physical football. No Auburn was NOT “power running” per se. Rather it was old wing t/veer where misdirection reigns supreme.

    “is this what we want the game to be?”

    To me that is where the discussion needs to begin and end…..its not about livelihoods. it is not about injury. It is about having a game that is strategic and balanced and gives offenses and defenses a relatively equal chance of “winning” each play.


    • …..its not about livelihoods… It is about having a game that is strategic and balanced and gives offenses and defenses a relatively equal chance of “winning” each play.

      I’m not really sure how you separate one from the other. I bet most of these coaches would disagree with you, at least in private.


  4. 202dawg

    In actual Dawg news, JJ Green has been moved to corner. Guess Pruitt had him on the shopping list…


    • Charles

      Which makes him the reciprocal of Branden Smith.

      Hope they involve JJ in some trickeration on the offense.


  5. Go Dawgs!

    This certainly is about the HUNH coaches’ wallets and livelihoods… just like it’s about the slowpokes’ wallets and livelihoods (or in the case of Saban, legacy). This isn’t about player safety.