Posted February 20, 2014

Arkansas’ Bret Bielema sounds off on player safety, supporting hurry-up rule change

Bret Bielema
Bret Bielema is standing behind his opinion that player safety should be the NCAA's primary concern. (Danny Johnston/AP)

Bret Bielema is standing behind his opinion that player safety should be the NCAA’s primary concern. (Danny Johnston/AP)

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has been one of the more vocal opponents of hurry-up offenses. So when the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed a rule that would allow defenses 10 seconds to substitute players — effectively stalling up-tempo attacks — it was only a matter of time before Bielema offered his opinion on the topic.

Bielema and other coaches who oppose fast-paced play often cite player safety as a concern. On Thursday, Bielema addressed a group of Arkansas supporters and offered his take on the issue.

Earlier this month, Cal football player Ted Agu died suddenly during conditioning workouts. Bielema used the tragedy as an instance of how player safety should be considered more important to coaches. While the coach’s example seems like a stretch, Bielema said any player with similar conditions should be given ample time to sub out of a game.

Currently, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first.

The proposal must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month before it would go into effect. But given the backlash surrounding the proposal, its implementation is far from certain.

8 comments
JackHoff
JackHoff

This guy's a black eye on the SEC

DanoBeard
DanoBeard

Wait a minute Mr. Ellis.....and the whole of NCAA and football fans everywhere!  I am kind of getting tired of seeing this:

"Currently, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first".

I coached football for 14 years and I don't recall EVER being restrained from substituting.  I know what is attempting to be said, but let's clear this misleading statement up a little....ANY player can be subbed at ANY dead ball.  In my experience, there is ALWAYS time to get one player off and another on IF you are on top of it as a coaching staff.  Yes, I admit, the match-up may not be the most favorable....but if you are claiming a safety issue, forget about the quality of the match-ups on the field and take care of your player!  Safety as a concern with the pace of play is NOT a valid argument since players CAN currently be subbed.....it just has to be done fast.  If the player is incapable of getting off the field fast, then he needs to go down as an injury and stop play.

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

Look at the guy, it looks like he eats pizza seven nights a week - he isn't even concerned with his own health. This is a bunch of political mumbo jumbo from some out of touch coaches that are getting their butts kicked and can't adjust. 

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

So a guy who runs a power offense and runs the ball thirty times a game is suddenly concerned with player safety???? 

sfcompguy
sfcompguy

Saban does not like hurry up offenses and so he wants to change the rules?  What a total farce.  Sorry, Saban.  You are simply going to have to adjust your coaching to respond to the new offenses, whether you like it or not.  (By the way, I notice that Spurrier refers to the proposed rule change as the "Saban Rule".  Congratulations to Spurrier for telling the truth.)

futurestrader28
futurestrader28

Arkansas needs to dump this coach he is out of touch with reality. 

College players are not expressing any interest in this 'FLINSTONES program

Suteki73
Suteki73

What a tool! So if I put a 150 lbs offensive player in should I demand the defense put a 150 lbs player opposite him for his safety?  If you know a player has a medical condition that could cause his DEATH if he played football (not limited to hurry up offenses) , you shouldn't be playing him. That is common sense.  Let's just ban all contact and play flag football, it will cut down injuries (or Sarcastaball for you South Park Fans).  I wonder if Bielema and Saban are so out of touch with reality they think most people agree with them........

Blinker
Blinker

Fine....  let's slow the game down for those who can not hack it.  In fact, let's slow the game down so much that each game is 4 hours long and no one wants to watch because it's boring.  If I want a slow paced game I go to the ballpark and watch baseball.......