Yesterday evening, the NCAA Rules Committee proposed two main changes for 2014. The first being the targeting rule, allowing the referees to remove the penalty if the ejection is reversed upon review, and it had to be fixed. But the second proposal would totally change the game as we know it and slow no-huddle offenses.
Related: NCAA proposed changes
The rules committee is proposing to let defenses substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception of the final two minutes of the half…all in the name of player safety. The offense wouldn’t be allowed to snap the ball until the play clock reached 29 seconds or less, and if it happens, a 5-yard delay of game penalty will be enforced.
The three offenses that immediately come to mind in the SEC are Auburn, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, and the Rebels’ Hugh Freeze fired back at the proposal, via ESPN.com.
“Is there documented medical evidence that supports this rule change that tempo offenses are putting players at a higher degree of risk than others? If there is then show it to us,” Freeze told ESPN.com Wednesday night. “Where is it? They’re going to have to show us some evidence. If there’s not any evidence, then they should table it.
“You can do it the last two minutes of the game. Isn’t that when you should be most fatigued?
“Since the start of football, defenses can line up wherever they want to,” Freeze said. “They can move around as much as they want to before the snap. … They can do whatever they want to do, that’s fine. I coach defense, too, that’s great. The one thing that has always been offenses’ deal is snapping the ball. That’s the only thing we have.”
Nick Saban and Bret Bielema have been the most outspoken about the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses and slowing them down.
Here are Saban’s comments during the 2012 season, and he speaks out on player safety:
“I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety,” Saban said. “The team gets in the same formation group. You can’t substitute defensive players. You go on a 14-, 16- or 18-play drive and they’re snapping the ball as fast as you can go, and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can’t even get lined up. That’s when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt … when they’re not ready to play. I think that’s something that can be looked at. It’s obviously created a tremendous advantage for the offense when teams are scoring 70 points and we’re averaging 49.5 points a game. More and more people are going to do it.”
Washington State head coach, and famous bear hunter, Mike Leach basically told the coaches who worry about the hurry-up, no-huddle offense to spend more time actually coaching their team to combat the style of play.
“My suggestion is rather than spending a bunch of time coming up with a bunch of really stupid rules, spend that time coaching harder,” Leach said. “Worry about your own team and try to make your product better rather than trying to change the game so you don’t have to do anything.”
The proposed changes to the targeting rule are a year too late, but the proposed change to hurry-up, no-huddle offenses are a complete game-changer. Both proposals have to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel held on March 6th.
I just don’t see any way the defensive substitution proposed rule gets approved.
Photo Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports