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Rich Rodriguez: Huddles are 'biggest waste of time in football'

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Rich Rodriguez does not agree with Bret Bielema's view of up-tempo offense
Rich Rodriguez does not agree with Bret Bielema's view of up-tempo offense. (USATSI)

This week, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said he'd like to see some rule changes that would slow down up-tempo offenses in college football and allow for defensive substitutions. Specifically, he'd like a 15-second grace period for a defense to substitute after the opposing offense picks up a first down.

Well, as you'd expect, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez does not agree with Bielema on this matter. One of the reasons that Bielema said he'd like to see new rules implemented is for the safety of the players, which isn't something that Rodriguez thinks will be affected in any way.

Rodriguez appeared on ESPN's College Football Live on Thursday.

"Not at all. If you're in shape, you still have time to substitute with all these timeouts and stoppages for play," said Rodriguez. "You have three-minute timeouts in every quarter for TV. I don't see that at all. Some basketball teams play up-tempo and fast break all the time; they don't talk about that being an issue. ...

"I'd like to have less stoppages and play faster. You talk about entertainment and fun to watch, I think we're fun to watch when we're playing. I don't know how much fun it is to watch a huddle. That's the biggest waste of time in football. I think from an excitement standpoint and the players, I think they like to play."

I have to agree with Rodriguez's belief that the NCAA isn't going to make any rules changes to slow offenses anytime soon. While coaches like Bielema and Nick Saban can talk about the risk of injuries for defenders against up-tempo offenses, the safety argument won't work until there's actual proof that more players are being injured because of the lack of huddles.

In fact, the only way that I can see the NCAA ever stepping in and making rule changes to slow offenses is if the games start taking too long. While I enjoy high-scoring, up-tempo offenses as much as I enjoy great defense, the truth is I only get annoyed by these offenses when a game takes forever to finish because of them.

Also, if you're wondering, when Rodriguez was at Michigan, his up-tempo offenses went 1-2 against Bielema's pro-style Wisconsin teams, with the Badgers averaging nearly 40 points per game. Michigan averaged just over 26, so maybe Bielema should reconsider his stance.

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