Gus Malzahn wants the NCAA to sideline the 10-second proposal


The coach everyone’s been waiting to hear from on the NCAA’s new 10-second defensive substitution proposal spoke today.

Gus Malzahn is like every other coach who has voiced his concern over the proposed rule – he wants injury evidence. No, Malzahn wasn’t calling the proposal preposterous or crazy like a few of his colleagues. Instead, he offered a solution.

Related: Hugh Freeze fires back at the NCAA’s proposal

Because this isn’t a rule change year, Malzahn, who has been in contact with the chairman of the committee Troy Calhoun, proposes the NCAA sideline the proposal until next year, which will be a rule-change year. Malzahn wants a healthy debate and some real documentation there’s truly an injury concern.

“The bottom line: This is not a rule-change year,” Malzahn said. “For a rule to be changed, it has to be under the umbrella of health and safety. And the fact that there’s absolutely zero evidence, documented evidence, that is hazardous on the pace of play, only opinions.

“What I asked him [Calhoun] to do is move this to next year where it is a rule-change year, that we can hear both sides and have a healthy debate on moving forward with the rules.”

Who wouldn’t want to see an ESPN panel made up of Malzahn, Kevin Sumlin and Hugh Freeze against Bret Bielema and Nick Saban? Talk about ratings – they would soar.

Related: Kevin Sumlin, Butch Jones chime in on the proposal 

Malzahn said the 10-second rule would change the dynamics of football, and he believes the quarterbacks would have to be coached differently.

“It changes the dynamics of traditional football in a lot more ways than anyone would think,” Malzahn said. “Not just if you get behind by a couple touchdowns and it’s late in the game, you couldn’t properly come back. But the way you coach your quarterbacks. Because it wouldn’t just be 10 seconds. You got a 5-yard penalty, so it would probably be more of the four or five seconds into that.”

Malzahn contended he is concerned about player safety, but he added he can’t agree with the rule if there’s no evidence to support it.

“I am first and most concerned about player’s safety and I’ve always been,” Malzahn said. “We play in a very violent game, but as far as this particular rule with no evidence I disagree.

“I’ve been running a fast-paced offense since 1997. I’ve never felt like on either side that it was a health and safety issue — on offense or the other side.”

Malzahn said he has no plans to alter his style of hurry-up play during spring practice. The Rules Oversight Committee votes on the proposed rule on March 6th.

You can watch Malzahn’s entire press conference here.

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports



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  • If we want any truth injected into this debate, all someone needs to do is ask Spurrier…

  • Wait, is what Malzhan is saying is “not so fast?” Is college football pulling its own Malzhan?

  • Coach Gus is so right. This is not a rule voting year. And It would violate the rights of all coaches that want to keep running this offense. So the proof of injuries, cause there are none to show . All coaches that run this offense should should take this to court if allowed to pass. File Suit Against The NCAA Rules Committee For Violations Of Due Process. An Official Hearing Means Both Sides Gets Due Process To Have A Fair Hearing Of The Evidence , And Before Any Official Action Is Taken. The Game Is Changing So Change With It . Coach Malzahn , Coach Kevin Sumlin , And Coach Butch Jones . Keep Up The Fight . For The Fast Pace Offense , It’s The Future Of The Game.

    • What’s really hilarious is that Malzahn is pro-hurry-up-no-huddle… yet when Arkansas (and, ironically, Brett Bielema) went to a hurry-up goal line package, what did Malzahn do? Had Swain take a dive that would’ve made most soccer players cringe.

      So, basically, it’s “Ah, don’t bother changing the rule… I’ll just teach my guys to flop.

  • Does it take a life-changing injury to make a decision in the NCAA? This kind of reminds me of the local city council deciding if a certain intersection is hazardous… waiting until a fatal accident before we put in a turning light or a traffic light…and then waiting longer until the vote is decided. Does this really constitute a study? It is a no-brainer.

    • Uh right…because up-tempo offense is boarding the line of life and death.

    • The only difference is it’s noticeable when that intersection is hazardous. There is nothing that even shows early signs that fast play could cause serious injury or any injury at all. If we’re creating rules based on what we don’t know against parts of the game that shouldn’t change, let’s go ahead and take kneeling the ball out of the game because who knows when someone could get seriously hurt.

  • Honestly, if this rule goes into effect, you could snap the ball, spike it, but receive a 5yd penalty, and stop the clock. It will drastically slow down the flow of play though, which is not exciting at all.

  • What’s wrong Nick? You need a sec to think this over? This is ridiculous, Auburn rarely snaps the ball inside of 10 seconds anyway. For Saban to hide behind “player safety” only shows that he can’t beat the HUNH offense. That the rule would not be enforced in the last 2 minutes of each half just shows the it is hypocritical. What is so different about the last 2 minutes? Is player safety not at jeopardy in those 2 minutes? If we are going to push player safety, then let’s do away with rushing the QB’s blindside! After all, he is extremely vulnerable from behind!! Nick, you sound like a little brat throwing a tantrum, shut up and learn how to beat the HUNH!

  • With teams trying to figure out uptempo offensive attacks driven by mobile quarterbacks who can also pass, check out some of the quotes from this Sports Illustrated article, and see if some of them sound like they could have been uttered this year.

    “The hammer that has broken things down is the option play,” says Frank Broyles of Arkansas. “If we just spread people out and let the quarterback drop back and throw like the pros, you could play a consistent defense. But now you’ve got teams with two split receivers, with runners, and with quarterbacks who can run the option as well as throw. This simply generates more offense than any defense can handle.

    “If the pros had the collegiate option play, they’d go up and down the field all day,” Broyles says. “Against their standard four-man fronts, a Roman Gabriel ought to be able to roll out without any sort of fake and get a first down whenever he wanted to expose himself to that sort of thing.”

    Kansas‘ Pepper Rodgers concurs: “In the pro game, because the quarterback almost never runs, you have what might be described as 10 men on offense against 11 men on defense. The colleges have 11 against 11, and the best ones are playing offense.”

    That article was written in 1968. Yes, there was someone suggesting that the NFL should adopt option plays, something that was pilloried as a possibility forever. Another interesting thing in that Dan Jenkins’ article, though, is the information on the pace of play and the number of offensive plays being run by each team.

    This week’s article showed some recent trends in teams running plays over the past decade. Here, though, is a comparison between the 1968 figures cited by Jenkins and last year’s numbers.

    Average Plays per Game, both teams, 1968: 148.7 plays

    Average Plays per Game, both teams, 2012: 142.7 plays

    Yes, that is six more plays per game, 45 years ago. The difference is that the evolution of the passing, mobile quarterback has progressed even further. Teams are passing more, and the ball is not hitting the ground any more. There are 15.5 more pass attempts per game (65.5. vs. 50.0 in 1968), but the number of incompletions (26.0 to 26.8) has stayed relatively constant.

    However, the concept that teams are running plays faster than ever before, or that defenses are desperate to slow them down in any number of ways, both within the rules and on the edge, is not.

    “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.” That coach was Woody Hayes, not Urban Meyer.

  • Whine, whine, whine! Big bad evil Saban is going to take away your NHHU offense! It’s not going to happen buy I say if any side of the ball deserves a little break it’s definitely the defense. It’s to the point now where a DB can’t even touch a WR without getting flagged not to mention that if he hits anywhere close to the neck or  head area he’s flagged for leading with the helmet. I hope it doesn’t pass because these gimmick offenses always come and go anyway. It’s hard to defend them for a year and then the defenses, especially the well coached one’s always catch up. Alabama had  problems with Ole Miss year before last and then shut out the Rebels last year. I worry more about teams like LSU and Georgia that will play straight up and just hit you in the mouth. Johnny Manziel is just a different animal altogether!  Let them run that hurry up crap all they want, but keep it from becoming flag football by allowing the defense to make them pay and not have to fear being flagged for  a good hit.

  • If your DEFENSE is gassed in the 2nd or 4th quarter – I suggest you get them in better shape. If the OFFENSE can run, run, run without substitutions then the defense can too. When a HUNH team’s defense plays another HUNH offense you don’t see their Defense sucking wind. GET YOUR D IN SHAPE SABAN and you would not have this problem…

  • The mere fact that they are voting on this shows what a political sham the rules committee is.

  • It’s because the HUNH coaches know that if they allow the defense to get ready and get set, they can’t beat them. They can only win if the defense is tired and not set. Now to me, that’s Chicken Shit football. Let them line up on both sides of the ball, go at it, and see who wins.

    • That’s right. If I wanna see who can run to a line faster I’ll go watch track and field. I wanna watch a set offense against a set defense. Quit tryin to cheat by catching your opponent off guard.

  • It’s a trick, Saban is setting everyone up