Rather than squaling about it Bielema and Saban need to sack up and stop it. If they do it'll go away.
Whatever hyphenated term you use to describe it, fast-paced — there’s another one — offenses are the thing in college football these days. Offensive-minded leaders like Gus Malzahn, Hugh Freeze and Kevin Sumlin in the SEC believe playing fast gives their teams an advantage by wearing out their foes and keeping them confused.
Defensive-minded coaches like Nick Saban and Bret Bielema are quick to speak of how injury risks increase right along with the total number of plays run in a ballgame. Whether or not players are more likely to be injured when they’re tired or not is debatable, but simple logic suggest a game with 140 plays is less dangerous than a game that features 160 snaps.
The battle over up-tempo attacks will likely drone on until some defensive guru out there cooks up a plan to defend them. And that will happen. It always does. Today’s trend is tomorrow’s fad.
Anybody running the Notre Dame box anymore?
For now, though, those schools that can run a hurry-up offense effectively do hold the advantage. So which SEC units have the advantage at the one-quarter pole of the new season? The table below will show you. We’ve simply divided each team’s total seconds of possession this year by their total number of offensive snaps. The fastest offenses are on top:
Need For Speed (Seconds of Possession per Offensive Snap)
What stands out? Gus Malzahn’s Auburn squad ranks just fifth overall in this measure. Malzahn is viewed by many — along with Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly — as being the father of the up-tempo attack. Expect to see Auburn speed things up the more comfortable quarterback Nick Marshall becomes in the starter’s role.
Texas A&M has Johnny Manziel running its fast break, but Ole Miss’ speed could cause Alabama some problems in two weeks. They had a little success against the top-ranked Tide last year and — so far — the Rebels are running their offense with more precision and fewer mistakes this season.
Missouri and Kentucky appear to be upping the tempo in an attempt to make up for what could be (in Missouri’s case) and what is (in Kentucky’s) a talent gap.
Toward the bottom of the conference, the power running teams of Arkansas, Alabama and Florida use more than 30 seconds between plays. Is it any wonder why Bielema and Saban have been so outspoken regarding hurry-up offenses?
We’ll continue to track this one throughout the season.