Oklahoma State’s Air Raid spread offense thrives on its quick, no-huddle tempo.
But a rule changed proposed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee could force the Cowboys — and the majority of the offenses in the Big 12 — to slow down.
The NCAA is considering instituting a mandatory 10-second window in between each play to allow the defense to substitute, meaning the offense could not snap the ball before the play clock hits 29 seconds. If the ball is snapped too early, it would result in a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty.
Current rules allow defenses to only make substitutions if the offense substitutes first.
“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” said Troy Calhoun, Air Force’s head coach and the chair of the committee. “As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”
This issue became a hot topic during conference media days last preseason, when Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said they believe spread offenses cause more injuries because the no-huddle attacks do not allow the defenses to substitute as frequently. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn scoffed at that viewpoint, and Gundy, of course, agreed, saying he believes that style of play actually prevents 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.”