Oklahoma football: Bob Stoops says 'no evidence' to support idea of up-tempo offense being unsafe

Friday, Bob Stoops and his offensive coordinator, Josh Heupel, each added their voices to the chorus of opponents to the proposal that would force offenses to wait until the play clock hits 29 seconds before snapping the ball.
by Berry Tramel and Jason Kersey Modified: February 21, 2014 at 6:54 pm •  Published: February 21, 2014

— Throughout Oklahoma's 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, no Crimson Tide defenders left the game with injuries caused by the Sooners' no-huddle offense.

But a few Alabama defensive players were spotted racing to check their wristbands as OU quarterback Trevor Knight received the snap.

“Bottom line, there's no evidence to support that it's unsafe,” OU coach Bob Stoops told The Oklahoman on Friday, referring to up-tempo offense.

Last week, the NCAA Football Rules Committee approved a proposal that would force offenses to wait until the play clock hits 29 seconds before snapping the ball, allowing defenses 10 seconds to make substitutions. The rule wouldn't be enforced with two minutes remaining in either half.

“The offense is capable of operating without substitution, in all downs and distances,” Stoops said. “If they're able to adjust to keep the same personnel on the field, they ought to be able to use whatever pace they want to. And the defense ought to be able to adjust.”

The proposal has been championed by Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who have insisted that it's all about player safety, and is scheduled to be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6. If approved, it would be implemented this fall.

Lots of prominent coaches who run up-tempo offenses have come out against the proposal, including South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin.

Friday, Stoops and his offensive coordinator, Josh Heupel, each added their voices to the chorus of opponents. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy declined to comment through a spokesman, but he did voice his opinion on Twitter the day the proposal was passed.

“The no huddle, fast tempo style has changed the game of CFB,” Gundy tweeted. “Our sport has exploded in popularity with high scoring games & packed stadiums.

“College Football is constantly evolving. Coaches have to make adjustments based on their team, their talents and their opponents.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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