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

If the rule goes through, you're likely to see a change in the look of games. You know how teams now stand around at the line of scrimmage, instead of huddling? We might see the return of the huddle.

Defenses like Alabama like to check off into different alignments after seeing the formation. The hurryup prevents some of that; offenses can snap the ball before the defense can adjust.

Now, offenses figure not to give away the formation. They'll still hurry up, but this time out of a huddle or something similar.

“The no-huddle, fast-tempo style has changed the game,” Gundy wrote. “Our sport has exploded in popularity with high scoring & packed stadiums. Why change our sport at the peak of its popularity”?

That's a little bit of an exaggeration. College football's popularity hasn't exploded. It's been on a steady incline for decades.

But Gundy is fundamentally correct. Fans like offense. Fans have always liked offense.

This rule would not take all the excitement away. Truth is, the no-huddle includes a whole lot of standing around at the line of scrimmage.

And the rule wouldn't cut significantly into the number of plays in a game. OSU averaged 76 snaps a game last season. The rule would cost the Cowboys only a couple of snaps a game, maximum.

But points could go down. Give defenses a chance to catch its breath and get a fresh pass rusher on the field, maybe they make a stop they wouldn't have otherwise made.

That's what's going through Saban's mind. On OU's second touchdown drive of the Sugar Bowl, the Sooners ran two hurryup plays early in a drive, then ran 10 straight plays in which every snap came with less than 15 seconds on the play clock. So 'Bama's defense had plenty of time. But that early tempo was on the Tide's mind.

And that's why Saban endorses the rule, despite the public assertion that it's intended to promote safety.

This will be a great debate in the next weeks, centering in the SEC, which has opened its gates to offensive revolution. The Big 12 awaits the verdict.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

 

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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