Slowing down hurryup offenses would impact Big 12 teams, including OU and OSU

College football's rules committee has recommended slowing down the hurryup offenses that are terrorizing defenses.
by Berry Tramel Published: February 13, 2014

SEC football is engaged in a little civil war.

Old school coaches on one side. New-age coaches on another.

It would be sort of fun to sit back and watch the carnage, if it didn't affect us so much out here on the Big 12 frontier.

But it does.

College football's rules committee has recommended slowing down the hurryup offenses that are terrorizing defenses. Including Nick Saban's, whose Alabamans in the Sugar Bowl were popped 45-31 by the Sooners.

The proposal prevents offenses from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds have passed from the previous play. In theory, defenses would have time to substitute, which can be a problem under the current rules, if the offense doesn't sub.

OU, OSU, Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia have lived off uptempo offenses in recent years.

Mike Gundy doesn't like the proposal. Doesn't like it one bit.

“The 10-second rule is like asking basketball to take away the shot clock — boring!” Gundy wrote on his twitter account. “It's like asking a blitzing linebacker to raise his hand.”

You can't blame Gundy for being riled. The hurryup offense has been very, very good to the Cowboys.

OSU, like OU, doesn't always snap the ball inside 10 seconds. In fact, both squads rarely get off a play that quick. But the idea that they can if they want helps maintain a threat that keeps defenses on its heels.

Which is why Saban has teamed with Wisconsin expatriate Bret Bielema, now the coach at Arkansas, to slow down the danged sport.

Saban still is smarting from the Sugar Bowl, when the Sooners mixed milking the play clock with hurried snaps, a gameplan that had the Crimson Tide dazed.

OU quarterback Trevor Knight threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against 'Bama.

Out of 77 meaningful snaps in the Sugar Bowl, the Sooners employed the hurryup only 16 times. And of those 16, I counted only five that were snapped with at least 30 seconds left on the play clock.

Not all those plays were successful. But those plays kept 'Bama off balance.

That's why Gundy was licking his chops in 2011, when his Cowboys and Alabama were political opponents over who would face LSU in the Big Bowl. Gundy wanted to take his chances with a spread-it-out, hurry-it-up offense against a traditional SEC defense.

Now, the hurryup has infiltrated to the SEC, where coaches Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M are enraged over the rule recommendation.

Final determination on the rule is expected in March, which should make the SEC football meetings in the spring quite interesting, no matter how it goes.

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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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