Nick Saban finally speaks out on NCAA’s 10-second proposal


Nick Saban has been the fall guy for the NCAA’s new proposal that would allow defenses 10 seconds to substitute before offenses could snap the football. College football has been eating this up and spitting it out, starting with outspoken coaches, media talking heads and fans.

According to NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding, Nick Saban asked for the opportunity to meet with the committee who already approved the proposal to bring it up for the March 6 vote, and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was also present.

Saban has been an outspoken critic of hurry-up, no-huddle attacks dating back to last season following the Ole Miss game, citing player safety and asking, “Is this what we want college football to become?”

Saban spoke about the 10-second proposal tonight at the Georgia Minority Coaches Association for the first time since the end of the college football season, according to It was almost a nine-minute interview, and it’s worth your time to read it all; however, I’ll pick out the most interesting comments, and the video is below.

Q: What are your thoughts on the 10-second rule proposal?

“I really don’t necessarily have an opinion on the 10-second rule. I think there are three issues that need to be researched relative to pace of play, the first being player safety…I think it’s wear and tear and tougher to prepare players when you have to play against a hurry-up offense because of the way you have to practice…The second thing is, can officials officiate the game? They’re not in position when the ball is snapped, just like defensive players aren’t in position when the ball is snapped, so that’s a game administration issue that people should probably look into. And the third thing, to me, and the last thing, which is not the most important, I think the first is most important, is there any competitive imbalance created by the pace of play.”

On player safety and the 10-second proposal:

“I think player safety is the No. 1 thing, and that was my No. 1 issue as well. I think when players get tired they’re more susceptible to get injured if you can’t substitute players when they’re tired or if they’re injured and you can’t get them out of the game…I think somebody outside all of us should decide what is in the best interest of the game, whether it’s player safety, game administration, whatever it might be. That’s sort of the concern that, I think, we all have.”

On postponing the proposal another year to gather more data (Gus Malzahn’s proposal):

“I think one thing people don’t understand is they don’t have all the facts about this. The reason — I had nothing to do with the idea of the 10-second rule, but the committee decided the 10-second rule because they took 12 games of three fastball teams: Oregon, Auburn, Texas A&M and I forget the fourth one…I don’t think anybody was trying to change what they do or how they do it, but the fact that they can get on the line and snap it quick, you can’t substitute. All right. So, that becomes an eventual player safety issue and I think if you ask the guys philosophically, a lot of them that run the offense, they say we want to wear the defense down and get the defense tired.

“Look, I’m all for what’s best for the game. The game is what it is, I don’t think any coach should determine, just like when they went to Philadelphia in the NFL and they were going so fast, the officials said, ‘We control the pace of the game.’ The league said, ‘The officials control the pace of the game, not a coach.’ So, I’m just saying what’s best for the game. That’s what Nick Saban is for.”

An ESPN survey of 128 FBS head coaches yielded the result that less than 20 percent actually agree with Saban and Bret Bielema.

Contrary to Saban, Bielema made some controversial remarks about his stance of the 10-second proposal citing ‘death certificates’, referring to players who have the sickle cell trait. His reasoning was hammered by Cal’s AD who recently had a player who tragically died during offseason conditioning practice. Bielema was referring to that specific player.

MORE: Gus Malzahn’s thoughts on the 10-second proposal

We’re less than a week away from the Rules Oversight Panel actually voting on the 10-second proposal, which happens on March 6, and if passed, the new rule would take effect for the 2014 season.

You can watch Saban’s press conference below. Some videos may not work on mobile applications, and you can also watch it here.

Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports



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  • Nick wants the “ten second rule”. If it passes Nick in effect is showing that he “is in charge of the game”

  • So it’s a crime to try to ‘wear down the defense’?

    What is he trying to accomplish by setting up in a pro style offense with 300+ lb O-lineman and giving the ball to his running back up the middle 10 plays in a row? (see the 2012 SEC Championship game)

  • Saban is only trying to slow the game down to fit his fat*ss slobs on the D-Line.
    Maybe in the interest of player safety, send your 320 lb pigs around the track a few thousand times.
    Or why don’t we just tie cinder blocks onto the offensive players? Would that make you happy Nick?

    • Those fat asses whooped A&M. Just saying. Bama doesn’t needd help beating A&M.

      • What Nicky doesn’t like is that TAMU put more yds on him last year than anyone ever in Alabama’s history. The game is passing him by and all he knows how to do is make sure his guys are much bigger and fatter than the other guy’s.
        Maybe he needs to think about the health of his bloated slobs ten years after they quit playing and they’re in wheelchairs.

        • Within the last 10 years Saban has won 4 championships at two different schools. Almost half WITH him going to Miami within that timeframe. The game is passing him by though? Oh, okay. Maybe you need to think about putting in your opinion when you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

    • You folks are quick and bad with the name calling. Your response comes from blind fear that your team will be just as meaningless as your dumb a_s.

  • And another thing……those NASCAR guys are driving WAY TOO FAST!! In the interest of safety, nobody over 50mph and use blinkers when you pass.
    Think of the children!!!

  • So, Nick Saban says he’s doesn’t have any opinion on the 10-second proposal. Then, he basically says how tough it is to prepare for…Okay, Nick.

    “I think it’s wear and tear and tougher to prepare players when you have to play against a hurry-up offense because of the way you have to practice”
    That very quote tells you why he doesn’t like it. Sure, if it helps by citing player safety, all the better. You can’t really blame him for doing this, but everybody should read between the lines.

    • The NCAA is fixing to limit the number of full contact practices a team can have each week. Do you think the contact during the extra plays each game is not going to be noticed. Some type of control is coming. You want to blame Saban when you should be looking over your shoulder at the bunch that brought that dumb spearing rule. Spearing has been against the rules for a long time and should be enforced but to throw a player out on a clean hit is stupid and to charge a 15 yd penalty when the rule is overturned is more stupid. That’s the folks you better be watching. I guarantee you anything they throw at you is going to be a lot worse than Saban’s call for the officials to control the game.

      • They could care less about player safety. They are about to add extra games to the season, (playoff system), which means extra games of more brutal hits and all that running up and down the field. Player safety is a cloud they hide behind that they use when it’s convenient for them.

  • Not much to worry about here. Nick is changing with the game and look for him to be serving up more whip ass this season. Bama will also be running a version of the HUNH. Bama also recruited some top flight DL and LBs this season that are generally faster guys. So whine all you want but Nick and Bama will be contenders this season because HUNH will cease to be a problem for Bama….

    • As a Bama fan I am against the 10 second rule. I understand and agree that players who are not conditioned against that style of play are possible at ore risk of injury. I am sure objections were made when passing became so pervasive back in the day. Any change rocks the boat and people hate change. I think we need more data before we make a significant change like the 10 second rule.

  • I thought the whole idea was to not only be tough but use options to confuse and wear down the other team …. duhhh …. lets face it if you can’t play the game get out … prepare the team for fast play … don’t try and change the rules because you may loose a game … I guarantee you if he could coach it, he would be against it ….

  • I did not see or hear anything about him supporting the 10 second rule. I did hear him say that the officials should control the game. The officials should not put the ball in play until they are in place and ready to do their job. My main objection to the HUNH is that it depends on the officials not being in place and ready. The success is aided by the bad calls and no calls of the officials because they are not positioned properly to do their job. The NFL won’t allow that and neither should CFB.

    • Is that your reasoning…That’s exactly what Saban spit out of his mouth..What a joke..I bet if you tell the God’s honest truth..You’re a Bama fan aren’t you???

    • A referee stands over the ball until the other officials are in place. It’s not like the offense is the one that sets the ball down and snaps when they want to. They have to wait on the referee each play to allow them to snap it.

  • I think his all mighty defense is getting torched and he doesn’t have an answer for it.They’ve struggled against the spread,faster paced offenses since 2006.

  • I think that Coach Saban explained his view quite well. I’ve never heard it broken down quite the way he did. It is a difficult decision between what’s best for the player safety, what’s best for teams with less talented skill players who like to run the up-tempo to give them more of an advantage, and the role of the officials in controlling the game. The NFL is a good model for the 10 second rule. Saban just comes off as an asshole to teams that rely on the faster tempo.

  • Ok, so Saban said basically they do this to “wear the defense down and get the defense tired”.

    Thinking back to 2012 SEC Championship, Saban likes to control the line of scrimmage, and he pounded GA with his rotation of running backs to “wear down” GA D Line and LB…

    He tries to wear a defense down as well, but he does it in a different way. Up tempo offenses is his weakness…. He cannot defend it.

    I think it is comical. The defense can move around, disguise blitz packages etc… to throw an offense off. The only advantage an offense has is snapping the ball, so why take that away….

  • Haters are going to hate either way personally i do not see the problem were talking about maybe 4 plays a game that are effected by a rule the rules committee came up with. if you can not get the 11 players who are already on the field lined up in the first 10 seconds who to say the 9 that remain on the field plus the 2 from the sideline are any different? everyone that hates this, Hates this because they see there advantage going out the window we finally found a way to stop the sec defenses and now they are going to change it (insert all of your tears here) quit bitching like you have any say in the matter.

  • This rule is just a hundred dollar handshake to the refs . We all know you don’t just have to beat bama you gotta beat the refs to. It’s a joke the best coach in the country with the best talent that doesn’t have to be capped doesn’t wanna adapt but just make rules to fit his players and his scheme

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