Dye-Gest: Slowing the Game A Bad Idea

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about the attempt to slow college offenses.

I am not that surprised that Alabama coach Nick Saban is doing what he is doing by lobbying to slow the pace of college football games because if you look at the teams that have given him problems they are ones with innovative offenses that can execute at a high level while doing it at a high tempo.

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If Coach Saban, Coach Bret Bielema at Arkansas or anybody else tries to sell the proposed rules change to slow the tempo of offenses as an injury prevention thing that is just plain wrong. I don't buy that at all. It's a points thing because teams are scoring lots of them and they are doing it all across the country in college football.

Watching the bowl games last season it occurred to me that college football has never been more exciting than it currently is right now and that is in the entire history in the sport. The speed at which the game is being played makes it a better sport. A lot of high school coaches agree because the pace offenses are popular around the nation and I don't see that changing.

If you watch an exciting college game on Saturday and then turn on a pro game on Sunday the pro game is like watching paint dry. There is no comparison to the excitement level that the new offenses have created in the college football world. It makes no sense to take that away by slowing down the game.

College football officials who are interested in preventing injuries might want to take a look at eliminating the kickoff, which I believe is the most dangerous part of the game because of the collisions involved with players running full speed in different directions. However, if you do that it would eliminate the long kickoff returns, which are some of the most exciting plays in football.

I am optimistic that a rules change to slow the game isn't going to happen because I don't know of any studies that show the fast-paced games are creating more injuries, and I don't believe they are. It is creating fatigue for football teams that aren't in shape or teams not willing to substitute.

Personally, I admire the coaches and players who are willing to put in the time and effort to be able to execute the aggressive, hurry-up offenses. They have to work harder to get the timing and schemes down and have to be in outstanding physical shape to be able to do everything they do. Why penalize somebody for working hard and being innovative?

From what I can tell there is no valid argument for changing the rules about pace of play and hopefully college football's administrators don't mess up a great game that is at its height of popularity.

(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)

Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming.

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