The proposed rule that would require offenses to wait 10 seconds before snapping the football, designed to impact the pace of play in college football, is set to be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6. If it passes, the rule could be in place for the 2014 season.
The public backlash from coaches across the county suggests that the rule does not have favorable odds. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier voiced his opinion on the rule, and its chances of being passed in talks with USA Today's George Schroeder.
"So, you want to talk about the 'Saban Rule'?" Spurrier asked Thursday, chuckling. "That's what I call it. (It) looks like it's dead now, hopefully."
College football never stops, and neither does Spurrier's ability to throw some jabs at his colleagues through the media. The rule proposal has been frequently linked to the Crimson Tide coach along with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. Both coaches participated in the discussion of the proposal last week, but neither voted on the issue.
Spurrier went on to say he left a voicemail for Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chairman of the rules committee, to say he was against the rule and added, "It's ridiculous. Let's let everybody keep playing the way they've been playing."
One reason for the backlash in the coaching community has been the accusation that Saban and Bielema tried to sneak the rule by the everyone else, using "player safety" as the crux of their argument -- as Dennis Dodd noted here, there is little "hard data" to support the player-safety angle.
He took it upon himself to go before the rules committee and get it done," Spurrier said. "They tried to change the rules. But I don't think they're gonna get away with it."
Spurrier's offenses haven't been known for warp speed, but he said the strategy didn't bother him.
"To me, that's part of football," he said. "The 'no-huddle' has always been available. I don't see why we'd take it away right now."
Spurrier noted that South Carolina had successfully slowed rival Clemson's uptempo offense in the past by keeping it off the field. The Tigers averaged 81.5 plays a game in 2013, but managed only 57 in a 31-17 loss to South Carolina. In losses in 2011 and 2012, Clemson ran 60 and 59 plays, respectively.
"Our goal was to stay on the field and run that clock," Spurrier said. "Hopefully, your offense can stay on the field a long time, and all (the opposing offense) can do is sit on the sideline and look at each other."
Spurrier also noted that his defensive players became fatigued during long drives by traditional offenses.
"If they're out there for a 14-play drive, to me that's when they get tired," he said. "When the offense runs for 5 (yards), runs for 4, runs for 5. Not these 35-second drives."
For more, check out Dennis Dodd's column on how the defensive substation proposal is drawing a line in the sand between coaches across the country.
Update: 8:16 p.m. ET: Bret Bielema addressed the proposal's critics after a meeting of the White County Razorbacks Club. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was on the scene.
Bielema was asked about evidence regarding injuries. His answer: "Death certificates," referencing the death of a Cal football player.— Troy Schulte (@TroySchulteADG) February 21, 2014
Bielema said opponents of the rule change are "turning a blind eye to the fact," of injury risks.— Troy Schulte (@TroySchulteADG) February 21, 2014
Bielema also said he and Nick Saban had no talks prior to issue being brought up at rules committee.— Troy Schulte (@TroySchulteADG) February 21, 2014
To be clear,Bielema's "death certificate" comment regarding Cal player was in reference to him reportedly testing pos. for sickle cell trait— Troy Schulte (@TroySchulteADG) February 21, 2014
If one of Bielema's players has that trait — he has "half a dozen" — he wants time to be able to get that player out of the game.— Troy Schulte (@TroySchulteADG) February 21, 2014