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Saban: 10-second rule for safety, not getting edge

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban is adamant he didn't have a role in coming up with the proposed 10-second rule, but equally insistent that hurry-up offenses are indeed hazardous to defensive players' health.

Saban believes something needs to be done in the name of safety, not to protect his formidable defenses from no-huddle teams like Auburn and Texas A&M, who have had some success against the Crimson Tide.

"For all of you out there that know what I'm thinking and the fact that I'm trying to create an advantage for the defense, I'm not trying to create an advantage for the defense," he said Wednesday in an informal session with beat writers. "I don't even think we need an advantage. Why do we need an advantage? If you look at the statistics, we've been playing better than most.

"But it is an advantage to go fast, and I can understand exactly why coaches that go fast want to do it. It's an advantage. There's no question. And it's really who's creating a competitive advantage then?"

The proposed rule change would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball with more than 29 seconds remaining on the 40-second play clock. It was tabled by an NCAA committee on Wednesday and won't go to a vote for approval.

Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema addressed the committee that voted in favor of the 10-second rule in February.

The Tide coach, who has won three national titles in the last five seasons, said he was asked to speak to speak on safety and game administration issues related to pace of play but "had nothing to do with the 10-second rule."

"I didn't vote on the committee," he said. "I didn't offer any solutions to the problems. I just not only gave my opinion, but presented a lot statistical data that would support the fact that pace of play is creating a lot longer games and a lot more plays in games."

"Now I know a lot of you say there's no statistical information that says if you play 88 plays in the game you have a better chance to get hurt if you play 65 plays in a game. Over 12 games that 250 plays, approximately. That's four games more that you are playing."

Saban noted that the NCAA limits teams' number of practices and full-contact sessions. To him, that doesn't address the area where most injuries occur: Games.

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