With Texas A&M, Ole Miss, an unfettered Malzahn, Butch Jones, and Gary Pinkel, the SEC is beginning to resemble the fancy dans in the Pac-12. Even Les Miles’ offense plans to join the 21st century and run an up-tempo attack. This did not sit well with a certain defensive-minded coach last season. Now, notable newcomer Bret Bielema has proposed a rule that would grant a 15-second substitution period after every 1st down. He cited the “safety of that student-athlete” as a grave concern. It is “really real.”
“Not to get on the coattails of some of the other coaches, there is a lot of truth that the way offensive philosophies are driven now, there’s times where you can’t get a defensive substitution in for 8, 10, 12 play drives,” Bielema said. “That has an effect on safety of that student-athlete, especially the bigger defensive linemen, that is really real.”
We couldn’t find any evidence of increased injury risk related to uptempo offense, beyond Nick Saban saying it does. Are we counting bruised egos? Slowing down these insidious offenses was not a pillar of the Pac 12′s comprehensive student-athlete safety initiative. We are sure such concerned gentlemen like Bielema and Saban will be unilaterally imposing that conference’s contact restrictions to really drive home their point. Because that’s what this is about. Keeping the players safe.