Arizona Football: Rich Rodriguez responds to Bielema's 'grace' idea

Rich Rod thinks huddles are 'the biggest waste of time in football'

6/21/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

It comes to no surprise that Arizona coach and offensive guru Rich Rodriguez isn't a fan of Bret Bielema's proposal for a 15-second grace period for the defense to substitute when opposing offenses gain a first down.Blog Photo - Arizona Football: Rich Rodriguez responds to Bielema's 'grace' idea

Rodriguez was asked to join College Football Live on Thursday to discuss whether he thinks the rules committee will ever get involved with the game's tempo, and his response was about what you'd expect.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "I'd like to have less stoppages and play faster. You talk about entertainment and fun to watch, I think we're fun to watch when we're playing. I don't know how much fun it is to watch a huddle.  That's the biggest waste of time in football. I think from an excitement standpoint and the players, I think they like to play."

Much of the controversy with this topic comes from the safety of the players. Bielema and Nick Saban have said that the risk of injury for defenders against up-tempo offenses is higher, but we won't know that until there's actual proof.

Only 35.5 percent of all college football teams averaged over 75 plays per game in 2012, and although that percentage has increased dramatically over the last few years, it's unlikely we'll see any action from the NCAA.

"...If you're in shape, you still have time to substitute," said Rodriguez. "With all these timeouts and stoppages for play. You have three-minute timeouts in every quarter for TV. I don't see that at all. Some basketball teams play up-tempo and fast break all the time, they don't talk about that being an issue."

Arizona owned one of the more prolific offensive units in the nation last season, averaging 526.2 yards per game and 35.3 points. The Wildcats were pretty consistent with tempo all year long and snapped the ball a Pac-12 Conference-high 83.2 times per game—one ranked spot higher than Oregon, which was No. 11 in the country.

We can expect these numbers to increase for the Arizona offense, possibility all the way to the fastest-tempoed out of all 124 FBS teams. The 'Cats made things look easy in their first year under Rodriguez's system, and have a lot of experienced personnel returning to the field in 2013.

"Bret is a terrific coach and a great friend," Rodriguez said of Bielema, who now coaches Arkansas. "I don't know if those comments are maybe self-serving a little bit from a standpoint that those guys don't want to face that. But he's had success against it. It's still eleven on eleven. I mean, certainly the rules favor the offense as far as substitution goes.
"But fair? It's still eleven on eleven. I didn't hear people talking about it being fair or unfair when the Buffalo Bills were using [tempo] with the old K-Gun offense and going to a Super Bowl."

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