10-04-2012, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
'Is this what we want football to be?' Nick Saban opines about no-huddle
TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- Just a few days removed from facing an Ole Miss offense that rarely huddled and played at an uptempo pace, Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked for his thoughts on that kind of trend sweeping across college football.
His answer instantly made waves on Twitter and all of the other areas of the Internet that talk about the sport.
"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 on today's SEC teleconference. "The team gets in the same formation group, you can't substitute defensive players, you go on a 14-, 16-, 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. With people that do those kinds of things. More and more people are going to do it.
"I just think there's got to be some sense of fairness in terms of asking is this what we want football to be?"
Alabama surrendered scoring drives of 13 and 16 plays, respectively, against the Rebels. Even though the Crimson Tide allowed just 14 points, the performance was relatively out of character.
Saban was asked how difficult it is to prepare a team to face such an offense.
"You just try to get your players ready to do it the best way that you can," Saban said. "I don't think anybody really ever thought we'd go no-huddle and the coach could control the game from the sidelines and call the plays based on how the defense was lined up. That's a real advantage for the offense.
"You have to adapt on defense, your players have to adapt and it can be stressful in terms of communication and keeping their focus and energy level where it needs to be to play at that pace. It is what it is, so we try to get our players ready to do that."
West Virginia and Baylor had the college football world captivated when it traded scores non-stop in a game the Mountaineers eventually won, 70-63. A few hours later, Georgia and Tennessee combined to score 95 points.
Saban said he wasn't surprised that the recent offensive explosion had spread to a conference known most for its tough defenses.
"I think there's always been good offensive teams in our league," he said. "I think people that have really good quarterbacks and skill players and can make plays in the passing game. When they get hot, they certainly can score quickly and make a lot of big plays.
"There's always been teams in our league that can play very well on defense, but some days even good defenses get exposed a little bit, especially when they play a really good offensive team. I'm not surprised by it."
Thoughts on Saban's remarks?
With the increasing focus on player safety I can see where the NCAA could take a look at this, but those concerns come across more as a thinly veiled fear of defending this. Nothing stops teams from doing what Cal did to Oregon last year (and others have done) where defensive players suddenly develop cramps and stay on the ground to cause a stoppage of play then go right back in 2 plays later. If you the depth to to that, then I say go for it.