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Message to Bret Bielema, “Don’t Whine … Deal With It”

By on June 19th, 2013 in Football 11 Comments »

Bret+Bielema+z-u30ZUSz7nmIn case you haven’t noticed, there has been an increasing number of calls from some college football coaches to slow down or neutralize the fast paced offenses played at places  like Oregon, Texas A&M, and Auburn

The latest to add his voice to the debate is Arkansas’s new coach, Bret Bielema. While not the first coach to air his complaints, his voice may carry more weight than  some of the others.

The fact that he has taken his position is of more significance than when others have complained. You see Bielema is on the NCAA’s Playing Rules Committee. This week he submitted a proposal to change the rules to give the defense 15-second substitution periods after each first down – even if the offense doesn’t substitute.

The Ex-Big 10 coach wants to slow down the hurry up offenses ostensibly to make it a safer game for the defensive lineman.

But there is no evidence to support his position that hurry up schemes result in more injuries to defensive players. Besides the offensive lineman are on the field just as long as the defense. Since they don’t substitute in and out, the only thing that can be surmised from his proposal is he wants to take away the competitive advantage of teams that run a HUNH (no huddle -hurry up) offense.

The HUNH offense is the biggest nightmare for opposing coaches to deal with since the wishbone was used so effectively by Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma and others during the 70’s and 80’s.

One can only imagine the headaches it causes for a defensive coordinator. The HUNH offense not only makes it hard to substitute fresh players, it makes it difficult for defenses to huddle between plays; both of which throws the defense off balance. After awhile as the offense keeps showing different formations, the defense not only gets physically worn out but also becomes mentally fatigued. In short, the faster the snap, the more the offense can foul up the opposing defense.

However the answer is not in changing the rules. The answer is in making sure your defenders are better conditioned. The teams that run a fast paced attack spend a lot of time making sure their guys are conditioned for the 80+ plays they run per game.

So teams they face can neutralize the HUNH’s advantage by doing a couple of things. First, make sure their defense is conditioned to stay on the field for longer periods of time. Second, stop the HUNH on third down, get them off the field and then let your offense control the clock. The HUNH offense can’t do any harm if they are not on the field.

Besides, one of the best things about the game of football is the battle of wits between what advantages the offensive coordinators try to take against opposing defense verses the strategy of the defensive coordinator’s to neutralize those advantages.

What might be a better strategy for Bielema is to stop whining about the fast paced offenses and deal with it. Work to come up with a way to defend it without asking for a change in the rules.

That’s what coaches did in the past when the wishbone craze was sweeping the college football world or when Steve Spurrier was using his “fun and gun passing game” at Florida to dominate the SEC.

If a coach comes up with a way to run an offense that is hard to defend – good coaches find a way to defend it. Always have and always will.


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..The strategy finally adopted to stop the wishbone was these things: Nine in the box, make the quarterback keep it, and keep hitting him hard. A QB can’t throw effectively if his arms and shoulders are sore from getting hit that many times.

    …..Spurrier’s offenses, when they were slowed down, it was with a “hit the quarterback” mentality. Honestly though, not many folks stopped the old ball coach. Steve Spurrier had 122 wins, 27 losses and a tie at Florida.

  2. daledotwd says:

    Saban has a new friend. Hopefully this to shall pass maybe Bielema would like to get rid of the forward pass.

  3. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    This goes along with what I was saying in 2009, and 2010. Ted Roof complained that the speed of the game was causing his defense to be suspect. Roof blamed the speed of the Auburn defense for causing his Auburn defense problems.

    While Gene Chizik apparently agreed, the decision was made to slow down Malzahn’s attack, but by the end of the season the AU defense was able to hold Oregon, who was tabbed as the fastest offense” to a minuscule fraction of their “time of possession, and total points scored.

    I say the answer is to better condition your defensive athletes. Piss on whining coaches, Full Speed Ahead!

  4. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Bielema is probably afraid to become more flexible in his coaching and recruiting paradigms. His solution, change the rules.
    Maybe he wants to install football’s version of Dean Smith’s famous 4 corners offense.

  5. Todd92 Todd92 says:

    Bielima had shown in the past what a whiney little b!t@h he is by screaming about Meyer breaking a supposed BIG10 “gentlemans ageement” while recruiting. Bielima will have a tough time at Arkansas unless he learns how to shut up and coach.

  6. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Good stuff! Great job, ATM!

  7. dabble says:

    it will never come to pass. too much hype, legitimacy and fan love/hate is on it. people watch hunh games more and longer. it makes for more commercial breaks. it ain;’t going away, no matter how much a few complain.

    it appears to me the coaches who are the most against it are defensive coaches who’s strength lies in substitution of personnel, recognizing what the other side is doing and adjusting effectively.

    i think it is here to stay.

  8. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    This ain’t big 10 country. Cry-babying about the unfairness of the hunh will not do any good. Bielema needs to put his big boy pants on and get ready to play some real football.

  9. […] it with less breaths than he took, but that’s impossible.” Freeze on Saban’s and Bielema’s call to slow down the fast paced offenses: “I don’t think there is any proof of a safety concern caused […]

  10. […] than it does safety of the players. He sees it as an unfair advantage. That’s why he has made a proposal to the NCAA to change the rules slowing down the HUHN, so his job will be easier. Safety coach? Sorry, that dog just don’t […]

  11. […] Expect ESPN anchors to try to keep stirring the controversy between Malzahn and Bielema over Bielema’s charges that the Hurry-Up-No Huddle Offense is unsafe for defensive players. Gus will be on 10 different […]