Malzahn Takes Stand Against Slowing Football

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made his opinion known about a proposed change that would affect fast-paced college offenses.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn made it clear on Tuesday that he is totally against a proposed rules change that would slow the pace of college games.

Like many other coaches around the country, Malzahn said he was "definitely caught off guard" by a proposal being considered by an NCAA committee that would slow the pace of play in college football.

"I have talked with Troy Calhoun, who is the chairman of the rules committee, numerous times since last Thursday," Malzahn said on Tuesday. "The bottom line is this is not a rules change year. For a rule to be changed it has to be under the umbrella of health and safety.

"The fact that there is absolutely zero evidence, documented evidence, that it is hazardous--the pace of play--what I asked him to do was move this to next year when it is a rules change year when we can hear both sides and have a healthy debate on moving forward with the rule."

Malzahn said that he has not talked to Alabama's head coach Nick Saban or Arkansas coach Bret Bielema who run slow-paced offenses and have been working behind the scenes pushing for the rules change. Both teams lost to Malzahn's Tigers last season.

The Auburn coach said he has talked to the SEC Office and was told he needs to give his feedback through proper channels, which Malzahn said he is doing.

"Once again, I don't think we need to lose sight that the only way you can change a rule is healthy and safety of our players and it has got to be documented," he said. "There has to be proof and there is not. I don't think that can be lost. That is really the bottom line...there is no documented proof, only opinions."

Malzahn's Tigers used their hurry-up, no-huddle offense to win the 2013 SEC title. Using a similar system when he was offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2010, the Tigers won the national championship.

"I have been running a fast-paced offense since 1997 and I have never felt, on either side, it was a health and safety issue on offense or even the other side," Malzahn said.

The coach noted that the proposed rules change could have a major impact on college football.

"It would change the way you coach it," he said. "The way you approach it would be a huge change. It is just a complete rule change. It changes the dynamics of traditional football in a lot more ways than anyone would think--not just if you get behind by a couple of touchdowns late in the game and you couldn't properly come back."

An NCAA Committee is scheduled to make a ruling on the proposed change on March 6th, something that has caused major criticism from coaches around the country for a variety of reasons, including the process of how the committee has come to consider making such a change.

"I am always, first and most, concerned about players' safety and I have always been," Malzahn said. "I am an old high school coach."

Asked if he believes the rule proposal will not be approved, Malzahn said, "I would like to think it wouldn't. I am just going to do everything in my power, the right way, to stand up."

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