LITTLE ROCK — Re: The slow-down of the hurry up, TMI.

LITTLE ROCK — Re: The slow-down of the hurry up, TMI.

A texting fool says that means too much information. For sure, there is an overload of info and reaction concerning the NCAA Football Rules Committee’s recommendation to allow defenses to substitute during the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. The online material yielded several coaches’ quotes.

First, know there is no guarantee the Playing Rules Oversight Panel will approve the rule when it meets March 6. Second, I’m not sure the rule will slow down Auburn, Ole Miss and others because it is rare that hurry-up teams snap the ball during the first 10 seconds. They hurry to the line of scrimmage, forcing the defensive players to be ready, but usually do the "check with me" thing with somebody on the sideline.

"We’re one of the fastest teams in America," said Baylor coach Art Briles. "We’re very seldom snapping the ball within the 10-second frame."

According to the chief of NCAA officiating, the hurry-up offenses average snapping the ball at the 17-second mark of the play clock.

No matter the facts, I can’t remember so many college coaches weighing in on an issue with such emotion. Duke coach David Cutcliffee said coaches felt blindsided by the proposal.

"It’s a fundamental rule of football that the offense has two advantages, knowing where they’re going and when they’re going," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriquez. "The defense has one advantage: they can move all 11 guys before the snap. What’s next, you gonna go to three downs rather than four downs?"

Interesting that Rodriquez incorporated the word fundamental, because that seems to be at the heart of the pro-side supported by Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema.

During SEC media days last summer, Saban questioned whether football was designed to be a continous game. Bielema has used the phrase, "normal American football."

The fact that Alabama ranked 115th in snaps per game at 65.9 and Arkansas was 121st at 64.7 has been cited more than once in articles about the issue. On the other side, 47 teams averaged at least 75 snaps per game. Texas Tech, Arkansas’ third opponent this fall, led the way with an average of 90.3 snaps.

Because Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry is a proponent of the up-tempo offense and a member of the committee that said yes to the proposal, his quote is among the most interesting.

"I feel totally confident that we vetted the issue entirely," he said. "We spent a day and a half getting the information and discussing the information. I think everybody in the group would say they were moved by the information."

ULM averaged 74.5 plays per game last year.

Just for fun, Texas ran 70 plays and Arkansas ran 66 when the Longhorns won "The Big Shootout" 15-14 in 1969.

The next year, the NCAA changed the rule to stop the clock after a first down. Part of the thinking was that a team ready to snap the ball was unfairly slowed if a chain gang was late getting into position. As a result of the change, scoring increased and games were lengthened.

If the crux of the current argument is about the increase in number of plays, running the clock would reduce total snaps and still allow hurry-up offenses to do their thing. If the question involves the shape of the game, that’s different.

Many fans, particularly those under a certain age, prefer the scoring associated with ongoing evolution of offenses. Growing up on defense and field position, I was in the camp that said Gus Malzahn’s offense would not work when he moved from high school to college. Providing the quarterback can run a bunch and throw some, I was wrong.

No matter what the committee does, defenses eventually will slow down the hurry up. Years ago, I thought the Wishbone was unstoppable.


Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is