BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was in his second year leading a high school program when he watched Florida State's Bobby Bowden turn up the tempo with a quarterback who was on his way to the Heisman Trophy.
He figures maybe that Charlie Ward-led offense in 1993 was a precursor to the wave of fast-paced offenses that have helped Malzahn and others win big and even sparked a proposal to change the rules.
"I was telling Coach on the way over here, I was watching Charlie Ward when they were playing shotgun and they'd go back and they'd start playing with pace," Malzahn said Sunday. "I think Coach is one of those guys that kind of started a lot of this wide-open offense, so (Ward) could definitely run our offense."
On Sunday, Malzahn received the Bowden Award named after the former Seminoles coach, a Birmingham native who coached them to the first of his two national titles in 1993.
The 5-year-old award is selected by the National Sports Writers and Sports Broadcasters of America and the Over The Mountain Touchdown Club.
Former Georgia coach Vince Dooley received the lifetime achievement award.
Florida State beat Auburn 34-31 on a touchdown pass by another Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, with 13 seconds left.
Nearly two months later, tempo is a hot topic.
The NCAA playing rules oversight panel could vote Thursday on a proposal to allow defenses time to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock.
Bowden's against the rule until it's shown that the fast pace leads to more players getting hurt, as proponents like Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Alabama's Nick Saban have argued.
"People like offense," Bowden said. "Unless they can just show me evidence that boys are injured by doing that, I say leave it alone. Leave it like it is."
Dooley ended his 24-year tenure as Georgia's head coach in 1988. He said sometimes defenses just take some time to catch up with offensive innovations and when they do, coaches come up with a new way to get an edge.
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