Arkansas Coach Joins Call For Slow Football

Razorback coach Bret Bielema has joined Alabama's Nick Saban in complaining that up-tempo offenses are dangerous for players. The difference is that Bielema serves on the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Committee.

Bielema has proposed that after every first down that there be a minimum of 15 seconds allowed for defenses to make substitutions. (See the story here)

The proposal is only a discussion item at this point, far from being introduced as a formal rule change.

The proposal bears watching for Arkansas State. Since adopting an up-tempo pace on offense, the Red Wolves have won 20 of the last 26 games, including eight in a row. Bryan Harsin has talked of increasing the pace even more.

Bielema and Saban aren't so concerned about the tempo of Arkansas State or other schools outside the power leagues. Most likely their concern is centered around three schools:
Ole Miss coached by former ASU head coach Hugh Freeze.
Texas A&M with the returning Heisman Trophy winner coached by Kevin Sumlin.
Auburn coached by former ASU head coach Gus Malzahn.

Alabama has lost only three times in the last 31 games and two of those losses were to fast tempo offenses.

A study of the past five seasons shows Alabama ran fewer plays per minute of possession than any other team in FBS. Bielema's Wisconsin teams were the fifth slowest over that period.

The prospects for Bielema's proposal may not be good. Fans and TV viewers seem to like the faster pace and with many up-tempo schools relying heavily on the run, games are actually running shorter in many cases simplifying scheduling for television.