Should the pace of college football be regulated?
I actually don't like seeing teams score on every possession. I like to see some defense. I am not saying I agree with Saban <shudder> but I don't want defense to become an after thought as it seems more and more teams are doing.
It dilutes the enjoyment received from scoring. It turns it into basketball where I don't really care until the 4th quarter. And I enjoy watching a good defense play; I've never understood why some people think touchdowns are always amazing but sacks are somehow boring. The way to go is a game in which an offensive show is on display but within reason so that you're hanging on every play because a score is a huge deal. In conclusion, hockey is better than soccer and basketball. What are we talking about again?
Doesn't remember how much fun great defense can be:
Man that was fun to watch. It has absolutely nothing to do with why Saban's 100% disingenuous "protect the kids" argument or the utterly terrible suggestion he offered in general. Great defense can exist just fine against hurry-ups, e.g. Alabama's defense. But it was damn fun to watch that again.
I want to bring THAT back. And put it up against a spread, pro style, option, hurry up, or any offense.
Moeller ran a pro style no huddle offense for awhile, but didn't the Big Ten change some rule to help the other team substitute that kinda neutered it? It's obviously not still in effect, but I vaguely remember we went away from it because enough people were complaining and the rule was changed. But I can't find a reference for it.
Are you thinking of when the NFL did the "matching subs" rule in response to Marv Levy's K-Gun Offense in the early '90s? That rule said if the offense makes a personnel change they can't snap the ball until the defense has had time to match--as long as they were marching down the field with the same players though everyone was stuck.
If the Big Ten did something similar around then I was only 11 or 12 so I don't have any personal recollection. I know about the K-Gun because of NFL Films.
I'll pose the question in the next Dear Diary to see if any of our older readers know. Great question.
But I might be combining that with the complaints we used to get when we'd make the refs quiet the crowd when we at the line (probably for good reason...stupid rule). I just seem to remember we didn't do it as much even before Lloyd took over; even when we were still under Mo, and he was the one who started it here.
didn't find what I wanted yet but found this instead, and it's completely new to me:
The NCAA last night greatly simplified the college football coaching profession by giving final approval to the most liberal substitution rule since 1952. Under the new rule a coach will be allowed unlimited substitution whenever the clock is stopped, and two substitutions on any down, even when it is running. The only restriction to completely unlimited substitution is a provision that a team must use one of its times out to put in more than two players when the clock is operating. --Harvard Crimson, Jan. 14, 1964
That's right, from 1953 to 1963 teams were not allowed to substitute while the clock was running.
I have vague memories of my first games in the mid-60s and had no sense of anything like the mass situational substitutions that are commonplace now. Now I know why--it was against the rules. I'm not sure when this was changed next, but at least for a while in the 60s you couldn't change more than two players without calling timeout...and that was considered a "liberal substitution rule".
Sorry, but high scoring games aren't what makes football fun to watch, real, classic, old school football is what makes football fun to watch.
To each is his own. Nonetheless, although I wonder if Saban was just using it to enact changes in college football that would benefit his style, the health concerns of the kids are the more important factor to be considered. It is much easier to hurt yourself when you are dawg tired after a 15 play drive where you haven't had the opportunity to sub. 5 or 6 drives into the game and this becomes a little more dangerous. Something for minds more attuned to the nuances of the game to consider I guess.
What, someone found the secret to overpowering Saban's defense and now he has to complain about it, saying it's "unfair"? Hurry-up is a strategy that coaches need to coach against. Are they going to make some rule of "you have to wait at least 20 seconds before you snap the ball"? What are teams going to do in a real two-minute drill?
And besides that, I think hurry-up is more exciting to watch than Lloyd/Tressel-ball.
Did I miss the game where one of these teams overpowered his defense? He brings up a valid point but I don't see anything happening in the near future in regards to this.
Last time a team similar to Bama played Oregon was lsu and how did that turn out for the Ducks?
Oh you mean giving up 335 yards, 18 first downs, and allowing them to be 9-19 on 3rd down?
Penalties and fumbles killed Oregon, not a stifling LSU defense
By Oregon's standards, those yardage and first down totals are very low, especially when you consider how many possessions their games typically have. Oregon typically will gain 500-600 yards and 25-35 first downs.
It seemed like it only took a half of a game to get those numbers that last time we played Oregon in 2007, Lloyd's last year.
will be playing Florida State for the MNC, not Oregon. Yes.
You lost me at Mark May made a good point.
Amen, Amen, Amen.
He does not bring up a valid point.
yeah the 2 minute drill is the key point here. every team, even alabama I'd have to assume, will at some point be behind in the game and have to run a hurry-up, no huddle offense to try and score. if a rule was implemented to slow down offense how would it handle that. you cant take it out completely, people would be pissed if their team couldn't run enough plays to score on a drive because they had to wait. its never going to happen so I dont even know why im writing this...
If the offense can be conditioned enough to handle the accelerated pace of the game, so can the defense. Saban's making a pretty stupid argument here in my opinion.
But the offense determines when the play begins, so they can start the play before the defense is set.
I'm not saying I agree with him, but its conceivable that injuries could increase for the defense under those conditions. It's not simply a matter of conditioning.
that shows that there is a significantly increased chance of injury by defensive players not "being set", this is all in Saban's head.
St. Nick, always putting kids first! /s
There's a reason that teams routinely rotate their defensive linemen, but don't do this with their offensive line.
It's more fatiguing to respond to movement, or to contact, than to initiate it. You can see (and feel) this pretty clearly in basketball, and even more so in hockey--when a team can't clear its zone and get a change it's the defense, not the offense, that suffers most.
I'm having trouble thinking of a sport where defense isn't more tiring than offense, if there's any consideration of fatigue at all.
It's amazingly transparent that Saban forsees having to play Oregon for a championship this year, and is trying play some head games early.
Nick, if you are such a defensive genius, you will find a way.
Maybe run some stuff from your Miami Dophins days....oh, wait.
That doesn't make sense (re: Oregon). Obviously, he doesn't think that the NCAA will change this rule mid-season, and if anything, he told Chip Kelly that he thinks his guys get exhausted and injury-prone as the game speeds up.
It's very likely he's saying this because he thinks that he's better off if no one can speed up the game like that, but he's doing it for a long-term advantage, not an advantage this season.
Agreed. I don't think they will change the rule either. I guess what I'm saying is because he has two working eyes and a brain, Saban sees that this is exactly the type of team that has a chance to be his team. So, why not send out a few shots at this new fangled way of thinking that he doesn't approve of.
I don't think that anyone will be able to line up against Alabama and beat the physically. However, if a finesse team like Oregon or WVU comes in and executes (and finds a way to play defense (!)), I could see the Bama defense wearing down a bit.
However, someone made a point tonight on ESPN (Jesse Palmer, I think. I know, I know) that the key to beating a team like Oregon is the keep your offense on the field and plod down the field, which Saban would love.
Long story short, Saban is a dick. But, he is actually a good football mind and somewhat of a politician. He's trying to plant the seed of doubt, and the fact we are talking about it shows that he has succeeded.
While this is naked self-interest, that's not actually a logical ground to dispute his argument. I can't say I've seen a increase in injuries that appear to be due to pace. If anything I've seen people faking injuries in order to slow down tempo teams.
I think Fremeau posted over on twitter that "2.8% of offensive possessions this year have lasted 14+ plays. 0.6% have lasted 16+ plays. 0.01% have lasted 18+ plays." so his argument could be that a disproportionately high percentage of these injuries occur on these types of drives. Personally I think there's way too small a sample size to accurately judge that and I can't personally recall seeing too many more injuries due to up tempo college football.
There ARE injuries, man. Fake injuries.
I disagreed with your post above. I love this one.
Man alive, them Giants are dropping like flies. Must have been cramps.
Who was it MSU played last year that there was seriously an "injury" on every play of one of their drives toward the end of the game? Iowa? I just remember thinking man, these guys are dropping like flies.
Wouldn't the simple fact that there are more plays per drive and more plays overall mean there are more injuries because if injuries happen once per (making up) 10 plays then you'd have more injuries in a game with 80 plays rather than 50? You don't get injured in the down time between plays, unless it's one of those strange kicker celebration injuries.
Not that I'm saying it should be legislated against; just that I don't think it takes a statistically analysis to see the potential danger.
While I see what Saban is saying (the more players get tired, the more likely they are to get hurt), that is part of athletics. Getting your team in shape is just as much a part of football as getting your team lined up correctly and your package of players you want on the field. Football is a sport, you can make your players better athletes fitness-wise and then this is less of a problem. To make everybody wait around so everyone can catch their breath makes football something closer to untimed chess.
While I think the rules have bent too far in favor of the offense in many areas, I don't think this is an area to be looked at. What happens if a team is down a few TDs? What happens late in the 4th quarter? This is a bad idea.
Well I think we need to get rid of the 4th quarter. Players are too tired then.
And maybe what Saban should be railing against, though I doubt it would do much good. The rules have gone way too far in the offense's favor. They're made practically helpless and you get silly baskeball scores. The only reason these rapid fire drives go on and on is because they can keep getting first downs. Because you can't breath on a receiver anymore, and you touch the QB and it's roughing. I can live with some of the latter for player safety, and take out the head to head hits on receivers and such, but make receivers get off blocks again and stop making two hand touch even a penalty. Then you'll get some balance on these quick drives, because they'll just as often be quick 3 and outs.
Excuse me but football teams today get long TV timeouts after every change of possession, plus actual timeouts that stretch several minutes more than they used to, and many drives are punctuated by drawn-out official reviews. Teams today get way more time to stand around with their hands on their hips than any who played in the first century of the game, most of whom played both ways I'll remind you.
And what's he regulating? Should teams have to wait 10 seconds between plays to snap the ball now? What about during the 2-minute drill, or is that exempted? You see how quickly this becomes ridiculous?
More plays means more football. I agree that it also means more kids will get injured because more chances, but the only dangerous thing they're doing is playing more football--if we had just 10 plays a game the kids would be even safer, but football wouldn't be a game worth playing anymore.
Saban is just looking for an angle, or to cut off every angle but his own. The entirety of the effect will be to decrease the amount of football you get to watch. Saban wants this because he is anti-football.
Players played all game on both sides for 60 minutes.That's endurance.
I think "football nihilist" is the term you are looking for.
Teams can't snap it any faster than the refs can place the ball for play. That's enough delay.
Why does Saban care about injuries? It just allows him to cut a player and replace him with a better recruit.
earlier this morning that there is no evidence of the amount of injuries increasing as the pace goes up. I cannot find it or remember where I found it. If anybody can find it, it would be awesome!
I suspect that injuries do go up when the pace of play is higher but not because the pace is higher but because there are more plays. More plays means more injuries. The fix to that is simple. Increase the play clock to 30 or 35 seconds and don't stop the clock to move the chains (like the NFL). This would allow uptempo teams to continue to play fast, and other teams could slow the game down on offense to protect their players.
If Saban can produce some concrete data that shows injuries increase as tempo increases, then I'd be ok with considering something like this. I strongly suspect that will not be possible though, so definitely no, it should not be regulated.
Nick Saban is here to talk about fairness, you guys...
I think he kind of has a point and I think that they could do something to fix the issue without slowing the game down. There's already a rule that if the offense makes a substitution then the defense has to be allowed to make substitutions as well. Maybe something taking that a bit further can be implemented. Something like allowing substitutions on 1st downs while the chains are moving. If they make substitutions, they just have to hold the ball an extra few seconds while the subs get set. If they aren't hustling on and off the field, then either let the play start or call a delay of game penalty on the defense. That seems like a good compromise that will allow players to catch their breath but not really slow down the pace of the no-huddle offenses.
Good lord. He does not have a point here.
When you lift, you don't lift to exhaustion; you lift until you can't lift in proper form anymore. That's because your muscles start getting too tired and can't properly stabilize your joints and whatnot. That's the point where injuries occur. It's the same with football. If a DL gets stuck on the field for 10 plays, going full speed the whole time, and someone cut blocks him, he is at a higher risk of a serious knee injury because the muscles won't be able to help protect the knee from bending ways that it shouldn't.
where yes it needs to be thought about.
Clearly, it's high time for a play limit/mercy rule formula in college football. Something like X number of plays * Y point margin * Z defenders too exhausted to stand on one leg and touch their nose with their eyes closed would work.
I upvoted because rarely to we get a geniunely GREAT non-Michigan related discussion on this board.
Very good stuff. I see it both ways - some very good arguments being made, please continue!
THEY WERE SO CONVINCING IN THEIR ARGUMENT! THEY SWUNG ME!
a genuine problem, but this isn't the best way to fix it. I think they'd be better off letting DB's make more contact before and during the catch.
I agree completely and have been saying it for years. You have to be allowed to defend and small contact should be allowed, especially if the DB is looking at the play. If out of position with his back turned, that's pass interference. If in position and arriving a second early, to me, that should be allowed.
I kind of agree, but I do think there is a time to call pass interference and this would make those calls more subjective. I think the rules in place now are to make PI easier to spot and call as much if not more than they are to keep the play fair.
Both players have a right to the ball. Usually the WR is in better position to make the catch and the DB will naturally be a step late. That doesn't make contact while the ball is in the air legal, nor should it be, IMO.
Go back to the pre-1977 blocking rules. No hands, whether they're kept inside or not.
I suspect I'm in a very tiny minority that would like that, though.
I'm not as big of a Saban hater as a lot of people. Granted, I think he cheats--I think his oversigning schemes work because his players are "well taken care of," if you know what I mean. But he is not particularly more evil than a number of other coaches, and his players clearly like him, and he is a brilliant coach. And I don't really object to his jumping to greater and greater jobs.
But in making this statement he is an absolute coward.
Now, I enjoy the new hyper-fast offenses aesthetically; they are usually on my television at least as a flip. But apart from that, as a fan of football, I love the innovation that it involves; these offenses are taking advantage of an opening in the game they have found and exploiting it. That is part of the evolution of football.
And sooner or later one of these offenses is going to make some plays, sustain some drives, wear down his players, and begin exploiting his otherwise impenetrable defenses. And because he wants to play a certain way, he doesn't like that.
And he is a coward for saying this. I don't think he cares about the health and safety of players at all; if he did, he wouldn't be kicking injured players off of his team to free up scholarships.
How small. How craven. I've never respected him less.
Here's an idea: If Saban is really concerned about the safety of players, perhaps he should pioneer better, thorough PED testing for players on his and other teams. Test his players vigorously for all substances including HGH year-round and challenge other major programs to do the same.
I don't think he wants to do that.
Saban doesn't care about anything but his own self-interest. Following the "money," one can reasonably infer that Saban sees speeding up the tempo as a way that a team with inferior personnel to his NFL Developmental League team can bridge the gap a bit.
My perception is that you are referring to concussions and collision-based injuries.
The studies I linked to all refer to muscle and tendon injuries due to fatigue. But they all pretty clearly conclude that fatigue most definitely results in increased injuries.
*Note: I absolutely and unequivically disagree with Saban on this issue
These days "player safety" is like politicians talking about "jobs." "I propose a plan to drop nuclear bombs on every city in the world....my projections forecast this will generate jobs both in the making of the bombs and millions of green jobs as we clean up the planet afterwards." You can't set aside Saban's motivation here - player safety is not on his mind.
no. Next question!
Does fatigue increase chance of injury? Yes, I think so. But that's why you have depth and need to know the limit of each of your players. And the last person that should have any depth issues is Saban.
Saban is 10 times the senator that Tressel was.
Isn't that exactly the point, that your depth and knowledge of your players' limits is irrelevant if you can't make substitutions?
In other words.........NO
Yeah all those 18-play drives from fast paced spread teams are killing people.
FIRE RICH ROD
"Give me your tired, your poor, and any JUCO transfer with a questionable character who can run a 4.2. When they go down, I'll cast them aside and get another one." I saw this crap yesterday and there was nothing but sincerity as far as the eye could see. What a magnanimous prick.
I hope to God this never happens. I can't think of something more stupid said by anyone. Ever.
Exactly. Reading this thread makes me feel as though I have fallen into some sort of alternate Idiocracy-type universe. "Make another rule" isn't the solution for everything, people.
I like to think we can be more thoughtful than that. But it's true that Saban's claim seems to hang by a slender thread: do injuries climb when the hurry-up becomes a game-long deal?
Probably very hard to prove. It's even possible they could go down--playing faster COULD even out, with Os and Ds not ON the field any more or less. You score in two minutes and the D goes off field.
Likely different KINDS of plays are being made, which also alters your sample.
No doubt the spread IS changing the game. It will be interesting to see over time whether manball starts to lose out, only works for elite teams, etcetera. The advantages of the spread for small and possibly less gifted squads do seem to have been established.
See my post above. I linked to 4 seperate peer-reviewed studies that prove that fatigue raises the liklihood of mucle and tendon injuries. So, it is easy to prove, and has been proven.
That said, if you want to preserve your health...don't play football.
I don't think the OP was challenging that. I think he/she was saying we have to question whether this pace actually leads to more fatigue. It seems it does intuitively, but maybe because teams get off the field quicker and defend/execute different types of plays, maybe they are less fatigued or less prone to injury even if they are more fatigued. Not sure I agree or think this is the case, but that's the way I took it.
I had not considered that. Thank you
first you have to prove Ds, and individual players, ARE on the field more. Then you have to show length of time on the field generalized across whole teams, because if some are on more some may be off more, substitutions may be taking place in other ways (next time O has the ball, etc.; this goes to adjustments Saban has to make.) Then--beyond knowing playing more means more injuries, you have to demonstrate that it's happening in these contexts.
Intuitively, at least, fatigue isn't solely determined by total time on the field or number of plays over a game--concentrating a lot of plays into a short period of time could cause fatigue on its own, regardless of the cumulative effect over the course of a game.
Saban's concern is with the increase in probability of players being injured due to the fast pace of the game. Further, his concern must be in regards to the players on the defensive side of the ball because the offense has most of the control over the game pace. If he feels like his offensive players are so tired that the risk of injury is unacceptable, he has the power to slow the offense down and use the full play clock. Or if he is supremely concerned, he can expend a precious timeout to ensure the safety of his offensive players.
So then, on to the defensive side of the ball. The meat of this argument lies in the game situation of long / extended drives: double digit play drives. I hate to sound overly simplistic, but the defense's silver bullet here is to prevent an extended drive. They need to display sound tackling on the players' parts. The defensive coordinator needs to give advantageous RPS calls. The defense needs to stop the offense's progress and therefore curtail these extended drives.
Offenses will always have an advantage because they act first and the defense reacts. But overall, I don't think the pace of the game needs to be artificially regulated; defenses need to step up to protect their own safety.
This point is dumb. I like the fast paced offense because you get to see more plays and more action during the course of a 60 minute game. These guys are college athletes, they should be conditioned to play the full 60 minutes.
Saban is always giving his opinion about something, isn't he?
Saban: "can we please slow down the pace of football? I need to use my medical scholarships on my terrible players, and all these legit injuries are getting in the way!"
I'm not sure about the health issue here, but I am starting to feel like the offense/defense balance in CFB is becoming skewed toward the offenses (whereas in the NFL it's balanced or even in the favor of the defenses). There definitely seem to be more and more of these 49-42 type games. If rule changes can bring things more into balance, I wouldn't mind. I don't know how much of this really comes down to the hurry-up concept itself, though. Would Oregon really be that much easier to defend if it took an extra 10 seconds to snap the ball? I don't know.
Make up your mind Nick, is that you're concerned about player health/injury prevention, or is it that you think it's bad for your team (fairness). I think we all know the anwser to that one. It's ironic that Saban of all people is complaining about things not being fair. If he doesn't have all the cards in his hands, if all things don't play into his power, if he doesn't own a competitive advantage over everything he is a little baby. He is such a good coach I would just love to see him compete on a a level playing field. He just always seems to get so caught up in taking advantage of policies.
If a coach wanted to slow down a tempo offense and be able to substitute defenders all he would have to do is tell the defender leaving the game to drop and cramp up on the way off the field. There is no rule against this currently, except that the player for whom the officials call the timeout must leave the game for at least one play.
All you have to do is have a player's helmet come off.
I honestly have no idea whether slowing the game down would have any effect on injuries. However, I think this is worth talking about because I think it does mess with the game to a degree. I have no logical argument to why it can't be done, it just feels wrong sometimes. I watch an Oregon game and I don't always marvel at it. It turns the game of chess into speed. Going before the other team can even think. Sometimes I think it is tantamount to the batter's box being removed, and pitchers just hurling a ball over the plate as fast as the catcher can get it back to them. It'd be entertaining as hell for a time (seriously, wouldn't it? especially after how we've dealt with long delays between pitches) but it wouldn't be the same game anymore.
Here is a better comparison:
Teams like Oregon and Clemson and Tulane developed and started using the spread as a way to compete against teams with far bigger and stronger athletes and far superior recruiting prowess.
Let's say an MLB team with smaller, not-so-strong athletes and less "recruting prowess" (ie. money) wanted to compete with the big boys (like the Yankees, Tigers, or Angels). This team would probably create a system utilizing untapped resources (like small, fast athletes) and unconventional tactics (like hit-and-runs and emphasizing OBP rather than home runs). This team would play the game differently than we are used to, and many would say that it is a cheap way to win. They would, however, play very well, and make the postseason often. But in the bigger games, they'd probably shit the bed against the Yankees even when they led a best-of-5 series 2 games to 0.
Oh shit, I just hypothetically created money ball.
My point: "The Spread" has happened in every sport, just with different iterations. It is a way for a team with inferior talent to win games using unique advantages. To say it is "not the same game" just sounds like complaining. Oregon has to abide by all the same rules as Alabama, they are simply using their talents to their advantages while minimizing Alabama's advantages. It is guerilla warfare.
between an OL that's conditioned to snap the ball in .0001 seconds like Oregon, and one that averages a metric ton of muscle, like Wisconsin. If anything, I'd bet Saban's model causes more injuries then Chip Kelly's.
I don't think Saban was all that worried about Western Kentucky and their defense getting injured when he started three All-American's on his OL and sent out huge TE's to block guys with no shot at doing anything against them and sent a 225lb missile up the gut of their defense.
I'm guessing there are more injuries suffered playing against smaller, cut-blocking lines like the service academies'.
that if we're going to allow an OL to be as big and strong as they want to be, why shouldn't we let them play as fast as they want to play?
If we're really that concerned about injuries, how about a weight limit? I think it's pretty clear that everyone would be healthier if nobody over 250 (random number) was allowed to play.
Prohibiting people from playing is a little more drastic than controlling the pace of the game, don't you think? But if addressing your concern meant an absolute crackdown on PEDs, both for the safety of the user and of his opponents, I'm all for it.
I'm not sure why people are so cavalier about injury concerns. I thought this was one of the resaons they put in the rule allowing the defense to substitute whenever the offense did, and I thought that was a good idea.
I'm not agreeing with Saban--I just don't understand why we have to dismiss the concern because Saban's the one who brought it up and I have a sense that's a lot of what's going on on the thread.
Maybe Saban should keep his players in shape so that they aren't more likely to get injured. I have a friend who grew up in South Africa and he was comparing the size of rugby players to that of american football players and how freakish yet out of shape american football players were. I explained how spread teams are changing that trend by having fitter lineman who are not as huge. I think up tempo offensive teams built around speed are actually healthier, though I don't have statistical backup. Saban just needs to keep his team in shape and STFU.
The game itself is not safe. I think we've all known that for a long time. Saban probably just sees the pace as being mechanism for less talented teams to level the playing field a little bit. And with the talent he gets, he doesn't want that.
Sounds too much like The Shift to me... BAN IT ALL.