Mike Gundy is, as expected, fully on Team Malzahn.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema engaged in a bit of a verbal spar during press conferences at SEC Media Days last week about the possible injury impact of no-huddle, up-tempo offenses in college football. Bielema thinks there are possible dangers because those systems do not allow the defense to substitute as frequently, while Malzahn called that viewpoint “a joke.”
Gundy, who runs the Air Raid spread at Oklahoma State, said Monday during Big 12 Media Days that he believes the more wide-open attacks –”basketball on grass,” he called it — actually may help prevent injuries.
“It would be a huge mistake for somebody to be convinced that would have, in any form or fashion, a reason to cause any injury,” Gundy said. “We’re spread out. We’re throwing it around and catching it. There’s not as many collisions compared to putting everybody together tight and ramming everybody up in there and being a pile. I certainly don’t agree with that. I think it’s great for college football.”
Gundy went even further than that, calling the rise in spread offenses “the very best thing that’s happened to college football,” because of the parity it has created throughout the country.
“Even in the late 70s and through the 80s, you always had your top 15 tradition-rich in the country that were going to be that way in the first polls that came out in the year, and it would end that way,” Gundy said. “That now has gone to the top 40 or 45 teams in the country, for the most part, that have a chance to win on any given Saturday.
“I think that’s been tremendous for college football. I think that’s why college football has gone through the roof and there’s so much interest.”
Gundy added that spread systems have given a place on the field to a player like the Cowboys’ Josh Stewart, a 5-10, 185-pound slot receiver who had a breakout 2012 season with 101 catches, 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns.
“If you were in a traditional style of offense, where does he play?” Gundy said. “Even though he’s a really, really good player, does he get 100 catches and do we know who he is across the country? I would say no.”