A few days ago, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez filmed a parody Speed trailer which poked fun at the forces of evil trying to institute a rule which would give defenses 10 seconds to substitute replacements from the sideline. Nick Saban and Arkansas head coach Brett Bielema are the most outspoken proponents of the rule because of their unsubstantiated accounts about its effect on player safety.
It's not clear if Saban, who oversees one of the slowest offensive paces in college football saw the video, if he even understood it wasn't to be taken seriously, or if he even grasps satire behind that stoic expression he perpetually wears on his face because his response to a question about the rule proposal was equally comical.
“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.’”
Player health isn't Saban's only beef. He's also greasy that the sport is becoming more about speed and endurance than blocking at the point of attack, which is where his teams excel.
"Our game's getting to where it's not about blocking and tackling," Saban said. "It's about how fast can we go so they can't get lined up. Is that what we want the game to be?"
Sometimes it's better not to say anything at all. The people have spoken and they've rejected the idea of fewer plays per game, which is the type of slower, grind it out game, the 10 second rule would have created. Saban's on a two-game losing streak right now and he's fighting a losing battle here as well. In a recent poll conducted last week, only 25 of 128 coaches supported the proposal. If we start heading down this slippery slope then what's next? Should college hoops officials stop the play whenever a player starts looking fatigued if his coach is out of timeouts? Maybe a middle ground would be for college football coaches to be outfitted with an extra timeout or two?
However, this potential rule does nothing, but benefit powerhouse programs with financial advantages that can annually recruit the biggest, strongest and most talented athletes. If these coaches have an issue with up-tempo offenses, just instruct their players fake an injury like a normal person.
Besides it's a little disingenuous to show so much concern about player's getting fatigued when they're worked to the bone between spring practices, summer workouts and longer seasons that include bowl games and a playoff coming in 2015.