The no-huddle offense has become a staple in the college football world of today; you only have to look at Oregon and West Virginia for examples. Both schools are effectively scoring lots of points by lining up and running play after play after play without breaking for a huddle. Lots of teams have begun faking injuries just to give their defenses time to rest, which is obviously against the rules, but where does the no-huddle lie in terms of player safety?
The NFL is on a rampage with player safety and the college game has so far been slow to catch up. Yes, the newly instituted rule of having to come out of the game if your helmet comes off may happen to catch a concussion, but it’s not a very effective means of preventing injuries. The no-huddle offense is only making some of these injuries even that much more difficult to catch. Players don’t have time to even line up properly on defense and be prepared to receive a blow from another player.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban weighed in on the no-huddle offense during the Wednesday SEC conference call, and it’s safe to say that you won’t see the Crimson Tide running any of that stuff any time soon.
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. The team gets in the same formation group. You can’t substitute defensive players. You go on a 14-, 16- or 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. 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?
Now there are several ways to look at Nick’s statements. One could be that he is generally concerned for the athletes that are on the field that aren’t ready to play at that speed, or you could see that maybe he is pitching that this type of offense doesn’t really benefit him in any way and if the game were to be slowed down a little he’d appreciate it.
Either way, the Tide defense doesn’t seem to have any problems stopping anyone and Michigan tried their best to run, whatever it was that they tried to run, and weren’t very successful. Really though, no one has been successful running anything against the Tide, so why would Saban complain about fairness?
Never thought I’d see the day when Saban cried about something not being fair, especially when his team is undefeated and reigning BCS champs. It’s quite puzzling.
Is the no-huddle offense not fair?