Solving the HUNH Debate

It’s been a while since I last posted anything but, as the song says, “looking at my Gucci, it’s about that time.”  So, if you’ll pardon the pun, let’s get rollin’!

Since Alabama’s spring practices are set to begin on March 15, I think it’s high time that I started contributing some material as we whet our appetites for what should be very interesting spring practices.  But, before we really start focusing on the upcoming positional battles and the new coaches who will be putting the players through the paces, I wanted to touch on the hot button topic that has consumed the college football world – the so-called “Nick Saban Rule” that attempts to slow the pace of the game down 10 seconds before every snap.

By this time you should all know the details regarding the rule so I won’t go into great detail outlining the proposal.  Just know that it won’t happen in the upcoming 2014 season and, honestly, it’s unlikely to get passed any time in the near future.

Why?  Well, mainly because it’s a bad rule.  I think the coaches are correct in trying to find a way to allow substitutions on the field but, in my opinion, this is not the right approach.  I also believe that the needs of the officials to get into the proper position do need to be taken into consideration but, as I have confirmed by talking with actual FBS official, their needs will be more taken care of by adding an eighth member of their crew than anything this ruling would do.

Ok, so why is it a bad rule?  Aside from assessing a delay of game penalty for going too fast??  Well, I’m so glad you asked.  Here’s a scenario you should consider:

  • Alabama is down 14 points with five minutes to go in the 4th quarter
  • Bama hurries to the line of scrimmage in an effort to get as many snaps as possible before the clock expires.  As you know, being down two scores forces a hurry up approach.
  • Jacob Coker rushes up to the line of scrimmage and Alabama is set to call the play but…they…have….to…..waaaait.  And wait.  And wait.
  • Ugh.  Bama fans would lose their minds as precious seconds ticked off the clock.  I know I would lose my mind.

All of the haughty talk about “player safety” is bogus to me.  As many have pointed out, if you are truly concerned about player safety, then adding three additional games (a conference championship game, a semi-final game and then a championship game) for the sake of gaining a ton of extra revenue probably isn’t the safest thing for these players to endure, either.  Frankly, I don’t think this issue is truly about safety.

What I do think the discussion is truly about is the ability to substitute a player when he is completely gassed.  Reasonable people realize that a coach should be able to get his kids out of the game when they are completely spent, and they should be allowed to do so without resorting to having their players fall prey to invisible snipers.  You’ve seen it.  It’s a joke – a perfectly healthy football player belatedly falls to the ground, faking an injury.  Like we don’t all know what’s going on.  In all honesty, I think the coaches want to remove these infamous flops as much as they want to slow down the pace of the game.

Listen, 300 pounders are going to need a break and they should be allowed to come off the field if they are unable to put forth an effort to defend themselves.  In my opinion, after every first down, the clock is stopped to move the chains and it’s at that time that you should be able to substitute liberally.  No additional rules are needed.  The ref would simply stand over the ball (as they do now whenever the offense substitutes) and allow the defense to send in their reserves.

New rules aren’t needed and aren’t necessary.  What is necessary is a break in the action to allow these kids to be substituted out of the game.  Doing so after every first down would alleviate the safety concerns and it would protect the pace of the game throughout the game.

Folks, it’s just so simple.  Even the cavemen at the NCAA could do it…


2 comments on “Solving the HUNH Debate

  1. Honestly, I think what you suggest is a pretty logical suggestion… much more logical than the 10 second rule. I’d like to share a conversation I had with a current NFL official. He believes this is really easily solved. There should just be a clarification made next year that the ball is not set for play until the Referee verifies that each member of the officiating crew is in position and ready for the next play to begin. His opinion is that in addition to the defense being unable to substitute, there are a higher number of missed calls during a HUND sequence with a quick snap.


    • lneck says:

      Thanks Chris – your point about holding the snap until the officials are in place is excellent. Many coaches have stated that the main problem they have with the HUNH is the fact that the officials are not administering the rules as they are outlined in the rulebook. Oftentimes you see offensive linemen, wide receivers and backs blocking downfield when the passes are thrown and many point to the officials being out of position to make that call. For what it’s worth, I spoke to an FBS official and he told me that adding an 8th man to the crew would be a huge help to them regarding getting in place for the next snap. Short of that, the suggestion to hold the snap until the officials are set not only makes sense but seems necessary, doesn’t it? Great post – thanks for adding to the discussion!!!


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