Posted: 9:51 am Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Will college football take ‘hurry’ out of ‘hurry up’? 

By Mark Bradley

These SEC champs were so tired they needed to nap . (Jason Getz/AJC)

These SEC champs were so tired they needed to nap. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Intriguing news from Adam Rittenberg of ESPN: In the era of hurry-up offenses, the NCAA is considering giving defenses at least 10 seconds to substitute and set themselves. Indeed, Rittenberg writes: “Offenses that snap the ball before 29 seconds remain on the (40-second) play clock would receive a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty.”

Think about that: The team trying not to dally could get flagged for delay.

I’m not sure this change, if approved, would be any remedy. I’m not sure there’s even a problem, despite the complaints raised by the likes of Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema that hurry-up tactics pose a health risk to defenders. (A vocational risk to defensive coordinators, perhaps.)

Here’s Rittenberg:

The (rules) committee, which met this week in Indianapolis, believes 10 seconds of substitution time wouldn’t inhibit offenses from operating quickly. It points to research that states that offenses rarely snap the ball before 30 seconds remain on the play clock.

Rittenberg also quotes Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, whose team averaged an SEC-high 78.3 snaps per game, as being incredulous when told of the possible change by Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, whose team plays really fast itself. Said Freeze: “Y’all are kidding me. That’s not true.”

The belief here isn’t that college teams play too fast. It’s that college games last so long. The 2013 Georgia Bulldogs, who used the hurry-up, averaged 72.7 snaps per game. The 2013 Atlanta Falcons, also a hurry-up team, averaged 64. Both teams play 60 minutes. (Georgia did play two overtime games.) The difference is the clock.

The NFL doesn’t stop its clock after every first down. Except for the last two minutes of the first half and the final five minutes of the second, the NFL clock keeps moving after a player runs out of bounds. This is done so NFL games can come close to fitting into three-hour TV slots. The day of the three-hour college game has gone the way of the Wishbone.

The 2013 SEC championship — Auburn beat Missouri, another hurry-up team, 59-42 — lasted three hours and 54 minutes. The Super Bowl just won by Seattle over Denver lasted three hours and 23 minutes, and that was with a half-hour halftime break. (A normal NFL halftime is 12 minutes.)

Those who oversee college football have wondered if their elongated games need to be tightened, and it’s invariably the coaches who fight any attempt. Coaches, see, don’t want running clocks. Coaches (at least offensive ones) want more time so their teams can run more plays and score more points and pad their stats and — oh, yeah — perhaps even win more games.

But it gets ridiculous when — again referencing the Auburn-Missouri SEC title tilt — two hurry-up teams run 156 plays, score 111 points, gain 1,211 yards … and the whole thing takes nearly four hours and leaves you almost numb. If there’s a safety issue, mightn’t it have to do with how long players have to play, as opposed to how quickly they have to ready for the next snap?

A followup: Does Nick Saban run the world, or just college football?

126 comments
ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

"The day of the three-hour college game has gone the way of the Wishbone."  Mark Bradley from the blog here today.


I totaled up all plays in Bulldogs at Jackets this year.  196 plays including 30 special teams plays.  Some were penalties.  It included 2 overtimes, where special teams do not kick-off.  20 % of snaps are special teams' plays and those take time to change all the personnel for both teams, rather than continuity of the game in a long drive of many snaps. 


There are issues with reviews, where games are stopped for long periods, and sometimes the call still is not corrected because there is not enough evidence to over-rule the call.


College players play a lot.  Don't we have two teams playing 15 games 2014-2015 season now ?  Still, 85-man scholarship limit and the NCAA punishes maybe a dozen teams in a year giving them fewer recruits to work with.  That is contrary to player safety, too Mark.


Games are not regimented either, one week on Thursday and one week on Saturday and the schedules show a week off in week number 2 for some teams and week maybe 16, then the bowl games and now the added 1th game for 2 teams.


That's why you see so many college teams have 68 scholarship recruits and 2 walk-ons on scholarship sign 22 players plus a soccer kicker to kick-off as a preferred walk-on, saying we don't over-recruit.  Uh huh.


When you play the # 3 toughest schedule nationally not the # 29 for Jackets or # 57 for FSU including beating Auburn, you still have the # 7 largest average attendance to satisfy not the # 45 attendance for Jackets or # 18 attendance of FSU.  It would be better for us all around to not see 8 others have 8 home games and 46 others have 7, while we just have 6 so we can play at the dysfunctional Gator Bowl twice in a season - as travel is a huge demand on these scholarship football recruits, who don't by the way graduate very well from the Wishbone Offense to the NFL or life.

Dawggie
Dawggie

Maybe Saban is trying to keep up with is pal in the White House, who is attempting to inact over 10,000 new laws for 2014.

Nick better get busy . . .

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

Perhaps the simplest solution is if the offense subs then the defense gets 10 seconds to sub.  If the offense runs a true hurry up without subbing then the defense can sub at their own risk but the offense is free to snap the ball as soon as the ref spots it.

dawg4u
dawg4u

I am definitely against having games last 4 hours now instead of 3 hours as used to be the average time. If you penalize a team for snapping the ball to early and call it a delay of game then that shouldn't fly either. The main culprit is more sponsors and more frequent commercials but I have a suggestion - why not keep the clock running after every other pass incompletion. Maybe that would force teams to concentrate on precision type passes rather than airing it out so often. The running teams are now doing the hurry up offense Just much as the passing team it seems. I can remember games in the sixties where Ga. beat Vanderbilt 7-0 and GT beat Tennessee 6-3 in '66. Also that year Alabama beat Tennessee 11-10 in an excellent game full of drama. Those types of scores are now a thing of the past. Nowadays the losing team in the SECCG scores 42 points. Let's get it back to football and not a track meet and the hurry up offenses taking control!

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

With all these rule changes it won't be too long to where CFB will be the equilavent NASCAR. Back in the day when MOPAR came out with the Hemi engine and was blowing the doors off the others NASCAR stepped in and said NO, we have to make an equal playing field for all the manufacturers equal therefore  MOPAR chose to get out of the business. Seems as though their hard work on gaining an advantage didn't pay off. The other manufactures didn't want to put in the extra work and instead lobbied for rules changes.

The defenses of college football need to figure out on their own a way to gain their own competitive advantage thus offsetting the high speed offenses of todays game...

Now, with that being said I have never liked the rule of a touchdown being ruled so  if the ball crosses the plane in the air instead of actually touching solid ground in the end zone. After all, if a pass is completed for  first down yardage and the reciever decides to run backwards again to avoid tacklers and try to gain more yardage yet is tackled behind the first down marker its no longer a first down....seems a double standard to me.....

thebucket
thebucket

If you can't stop it, change the rule!!!!!

OldFan
OldFan

I heard the Texas A & M Coach, Kevin Summerlin, on this topic today.  He made a great point:  The essence of Football is that the Offense has an advantage in that THEY only know when the ball is going to be snapped and where the ball is going.  The Defense has an advantage in that THEY can move around and pretend to blitz and all the rest prior to the ball being snapped, while the Offense (particularly the offensive line) must remain motionless or else it is a false start.  The reality is both sides of the ball have their distinct advantages.  Saban wants to turn the College Game into the NFL Game.. slow everything down so he can get his Defense set...remember his  worse games have come against fast paced teams, i.e Texas A & M, Auburn and in the bowl game last year Oklahoma (yes Oklahoma does run a fast pace offense)  ..not gonna happen little man.

OldFan
OldFan

I understand that Saban is now petitioning the NCAA to change another rule:  NO DEFENSIVE TEAM MAY RETURN A FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT IF IT COMES UP SHORT.   For players safety, of course.

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

How about giving teams more timeouts? I don't care about game length, but an increased number of snaps does lead to a greater statistical likelihood of injury. That's common sense. Therefore, give teams the option to slow down offenses with an extra timeout or two.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

I record the games and watch them delayed. No commercials, no blather by Musberger, and no time outs. Hurry-up offenses mean less work for me with the remote.

Delbert_D
Delbert_D

Change the 1st down rule to the NFL rule.

bjbethel
bjbethel

Keep the hurry up offense.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Bert Bielieama is not going to make any friends in Arkansas high schools by bashing the HUNH...most of the high schools run that spread HUNH there.

If Auburn hadn't beaten Bama would there even be a NCAA review?

NCDawg
NCDawg

It won't happen.  But they may go back to the way things were in the early 2000s when they took the teeth out of Mark Richt's hurry up offense (Fastbreak).  People forget about that but for almost 9 years SEC officials wouldn't let teams snap the ball as fast as they could get plays off.  Once they did the offenses started exploding.  If you don't believe me go back and look it up.


I don't see why there are separate rules for college and the Pros anyway.  Just make the rules of football, the rules of football and have at it.  2 feet down for a catch.  A player that simply trips isn't down unless he was touched while on the ground.  Keep the clock running except at the end of the halves. 


This rule won't pass but I sure hope the changes to the stupid targeting penalty get revised.  And soon.

Vixzilla
Vixzilla


Well......If Nick Saban asks for it............

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

I guess we should also regulate teams that excessively pass as they tend to take longer then teams that run the wishbone.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

The forward pass was once thought of as a gimmick. So was 300 pound linemen.

Again...turn in your man card if you can't handle the evolution of football. The reason the SEC title lasted so long was commercials put in every 2 minutes.

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

So a team snaps the ball quickly to spike the ball and stop the clock will be charged a delay of game? If there is only 9 seconds left after a play the game is over because you must let 10 seconds expire off the clock?  How many brain cells were used to develop this idea?

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Nick must have some serious pictures in a safe somewhere of Emmertt. Anyone wanting a rule change needs to take your man card and hand it in.

"Me no like hurry up...(sob)...me gonna tell my fwiend to change the rules...(sob)

Saban gets smoked and is using the hurry up as to why his genius was matched. LOL!!!

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

The NCAA has become a major joke. Emmert will do anything to help Saban...

JaySly
JaySly

nick gets what he wants!  change the rules, auburn's offense will have to go slow!!!  don't mess with nick!

Bill1
Bill1

Why are we trying to shorten the game we love? How stupid is that? I enjoy watching football plays be run while at the game, not the clock run. NCAA just trying to water down the sport.

RedStick1
RedStick1

I hope they don't implement this. The defenses will catch up to these fast pace offenses.  It was the same with the Wishbone, Veer, Run 'n Shoot, Shotgun, Spread, etc.

midtowncowboy
midtowncowboy

Stop the gimmicks.  The defenses should be given time to substitute on each play.

Dawg350
Dawg350

I think this years team will mirror the 2002 team...where we had a strong running and defense. Pruitt will have the guys ready...Pruitt is an excellent secondary coach! Go dawgs!

Peachs
Peachs

Two way talent, lets put eleven on the field both ways and see how we do. 

BSNBC
BSNBC

Whatever Saban wants Saban gets!

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

this rule is sickening.  just because nick satan and bert beilma cant compete against a hurry up even when a mediocre team (auburn and oklah) use them doesnt mean we should change the rules.  

we could probly win this if we fought it in court. 

i wonder if we could offer nick satan a deal.  we will ban the hurry up only if we ban oversigning to.  think he would take it?  moist thinks not

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Maybe Nick Saban should encourage the NCAA not to allow a head coach to put a second back on the clock ? 

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

How is that any different from what we have now ?

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@dawg4u


"If you penalize a team for snapping the ball to early and call it a delay of game"


That's Mark Bradley's point : the new rule lengthens the game, not shortens it, which he and I believe are not in the interests of player safety.  In fact, many NCAA rules FBS are not in the interest of player safety and maybe a Union would help ?


It could not hurt.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@JeffersonDavisHogg


It is a touchdown only in name now from the old game rugby from which it started.  Maybe we could put restrictor plates on the hurry-up offense, and then watch everyone go around in circles until the final lap when likely as not the # 1 team and driver might lose to the # 43 best team and driver ?


That would be a big improvement.

skydawg
skydawg

@JeffersonDavisHogg Excellent MOPAR reference.  So true.  And if the powers that be will leave things alone, defenses WILL figure out a way to compete.


Both sides adapt when left alone to win or lose.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@thebucket


Well, Nick Saban has never had the best offense, and the Wisconsin coach found The SEC much tougher than the Big 10.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

I go outside and work, too, when they start games on TV we're not at.  With the HD Comcast, you come back in and press the back-up button.  If you don't have too many snippets saved, we can go out to eat at kick-off and come back and back it up.  Then, when they run commercials, you skip them.  Of course, the AJ-C has given up on commercials like mass media TV and Radio do, now. 


There are an hour of items in college football games you skip. Truly.


So, from the NCAA point of view, this is not about how long the game lasts, but whether or not, a defense should be allowed to change personnel based on the play, such as 3rd and 10.  The defense really should be allowed to do that.  Shouldn't they ?


That's the question.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@FoSho  but Preacher Man runs an uptempo offense and nobody is worried about UGa....LMAO

TideDawg
TideDawg

@RedStick1 Good point! For every offense there's a defense and for every defense there's an offense. The better prepared survive!

POAD2013
POAD2013

@midtowncowboy  Cry Cry Cry........it is the Evolution of the game(like life) and the Not too BRITE, Fat and Slow will adapt or DIE.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  Mirror Mirror on the Wall and to who will UGa Fall?....missing the National Championship for the 34th time in a row.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@BSNBC  So SABAN is the ONLY coach that wants this? 

The 2 watt bulb crew is heard from.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@MoistDawg  and UGa's defense looking around lost wouldn't benefit at all from a rule change? Well it is UGa the SEC's biggest underachiever so I guess it wouldn't help the Dogs.

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

@skydawg @JeffersonDavisHogg That they will skydawg and thats what will keep the game interesting. If the powers that be keep dipping their fingers into a good game and changing the rules as they see fit then the game will go down hill in a hurry!.....I already think the NCAA has taken a bit of the game away ( along with the NFL) concerning their hitting rules away from its true identity of being a tough mans sport already....Football is supposed to be about strategy and toughness anyway isn't it?

POAD2013
POAD2013

@skydawg

The NCAA is too much like the Democrats or Socialists.. Winners have to be punished so the Losers can get a chance and not feel bad about themselves.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Uhh...I mean his buddy Saban. He hired Saban while at LSU and was there with Saban during an academic scandal.

I am sure the NCAA is not busy...its not like they are investigating DJFLuker or TTown Menswarehouse.

I think its funny how revered this guy is and he acts like such a baby.

thebucket
thebucket

@POAD2013 @FoSho Actually you should know because of your UGA Obsession Disorder that UGA runs a no-huddle offense, but they don't run a hurry-up offense. UGA gets to the line quickly, but they rarely snap the ball until there is under 10 seconds on the play clock.

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

@POAD2013 @MoistDawg  oh look the biggest looser is here!  i guess the 3 people on the tech storys isnt enough of a audience for you.  

you could make a rule change giving tech 21 points for every td and you still woulndt win 10 games a year.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@thebucket They run more plays per game on average than their opponents so that qualifies as an uptempo O (get more plays off in a shorter amount of time)....RIGHT?

thebucket
thebucket

@MoistDawg @POAD2013 We've already tried to give Tech 20 points on their home field with a QB making his first career start and it still didn't work!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] < Will college football take ‘hurry’ out of ‘hurry up’? […]

  2. […] to be fair, he was joined by Arkansas coach Bret Bielema — to lobby the rules committee into slowing down the hurry-ups has hit a wall. King Crimson has been rendered a bit less […]