Earlier this summer, when Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Alabama coach Nick Saban were on a crusade to enact a 10-second rule that would essentially slow down hurry-up offenses, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez became annoyed.
He made remarks knocking the rule, sent out snide tweets and even helped his video department produce an incredibly witty video based off the movie “Speed.”
See, Rodriguez is the coach of one of the fastest offenses in college football at 83.23 plays per game, which ranked seventh in the country. And during Pac-12 media day on Wednesday, he continued to take jabs at those who wanted to slow him down.
“Oh, hell, it's all personal agenda,” Rodriguez said when asked about the attempted rule change. “Why try to defend it when you can just change the rules? I don't blame them. I would do it too. I don't want to have to teach our guys how to substitute fast, let's just change the rules. That's all it is.”
One of the biggest arguments for the rule change — an argument both Saban and Bielema continued to make during SEC media opportunities in the past week — was player safety. Because offenses were moving so quickly, it didn’t give a fatigued defensive player enough time to substitute and ultimately led to more injuries. However, no one pushing the rule could come up with data to support the greater injury theory.
“I don't see any guys that are running the fast no-huddle saying we have a problem with injuries and pace of play,” Rodriguez said. “If it was, as a coach, if you have true concern with your players, which we all do, if you thought that was an issue, you'd change your system. I think it's just the opposite.
“I think there is a concerted effort by every coach in America to try to make things easier. Hell, I don't blame the coaches for doing it, but good luck trying to find data on that.”
But Rodriguez did show a little sympathy for defensive coordinators who have to face offenses that seem to be more potent by the year. His Wildcats gave up 401.1 yards and 24.2 points per game, which was quite good considering seven of the nation’s top 40 fastest offenses last year happened to be in the Pac-12.
“It's harder to be a defensive coordinator now than it's ever been in the history of the game,” Rodriguez said. “Now because of the schemes, well, because of frankly the talent of the skill players now is keeping preaching. All this stuff, kids playing football year around and all that, all that's done has increased the talent level of the skilled players coming out of high school, so it makes it harder to coach defense. That's why I still play with the offense.”
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