Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez: Safety not an issue with up-tempo offenses
By Zac Ellis
There’s been plenty of debate recently surrounding no-huddle offenses in college football. A few coaches — namely Arkansas’ Bret Bielema — have been vocal opponents of such attacks; Bielema even supports a 15-second substitution period after every first down.
But one coach who utilizes an up-tempo scheme thinks such criticism is misplaced.
Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez voiced his support for the safety of up-tempo offenses on Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s College Football Live. Specifically, Rodriguez took aim at Bielema’s concerns (transcript via CoachingSearch.com):
“Well, Bret is a terrific coach and a great friend. 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.”
Bielema first voiced his issues at SEC spring meetings earlier this month, arguing that the safety of players can be compromised when an offense’s speed doesn’t allow for timely substitutions throughout the course of a game. But Rodriguez nixed the idea:
“Not at all. If you’re in shape, you still have time to substitute. 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.”
Rodriguez’s Wildcats set program records for total offense (526.2 yards per game) and scoring offense (38.2 points per game) in 2012. Arizona’s total offense finished seventh in FBS, and its running back, Ka’Deem Carey, led the nation in rushing yards (1,929).