Alabama head coach Nick Saban seems frustrated near the end of a loss to Auburn during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Alabama football coach Nick Saban talked to the media about many topics Wednesday, but the 10-second rule remains the hot subject.
Here’s Saban’s full answer about where the rule is and if it’s going to pass for this season or not. Let’s just say he’s passionate about the rule.
“I really don’t know. I get some kind of way, everybody seems to know what I think. Everybody seems to know what I’m thinking. Everybody seems to know all kinds of stuff about me without ever talking to me, without know the circumstances about what happened.”
“Look, I had nothing to do with the 10-second rule. I was asked by the rules committee and the officials to come and speak to the rules committee relative to pace of play. Were there play safety issues involved in that and is there a game administrative problem with that. So I went and did that. I didn’t vote on the committee. I didn’t offer any solutions to the problems. I just not just gave my opinion, but presented a lot statistical data that would support the fact that pace of play is creating a lot longer games and a lot more plays in games.”
“Now I know a lot of you say there’s no statistical information that says if you play 88 plays in the game you have a better chance to get hurt if you play 65 plays in a game. Over 12 games that 250 plays, approximately. That’s four games more that you are playing. So everything we’ve every done in the NCAA has been to limit exposure. So we cut back spring practice. We say you got to practice in shorts. We say you have to practice so many days in shells. We make fall camp, we cut back how many days you can practice in pads, how many scrimmages we can have. So many acclimation days. Can’t have consecutive two-a-days. We have all these rules to limit exposure. But the data says there are seven players who get hurt in the game to every one that gets hurt in practice. That’s a fact. OK. We are going to limit practice, which is exactly what the NFL did last year to no avail helping injuries. They actually had more injuries, I think, when everybody is getting hurt in the game. Not everybody, but 7-to-1. The game is longer and more plays. And the pace of the game is faster. I’m just one that doesn’t thinks that the officials should not control the pace of the game. That’s what I think.”
“Because that’s a player safety issue, too. To me football was not intended to be a continues game. Soccer is, rugby is. Football was never intended to be that. Football play has been played for a long time, and there’s always a little bit between plays because of the physical nature and the contact that’s involved.”
“There’s actually a study of Virginia Tech players who played 61 plays in a game, eight players over 10 games. How may sub-conconcussive hits did they get to their head in each game? Well, if you took another team that goes no-huddle and averages 88 plays a game instead of 61 plays a game, how many sub-concussive hits would they get? Is it wrong to assume that the right tackle and the five-technique aren’t going to hit that many more plays in the game, or are they going to get out of each other’s way?”
“I personally think it is a player’s safety issue. We are the only game that the college game is longer than the pro game. An NBA game’s longer than a college basketball game. Well, in the NFL, the lowest team averages 59 plays, the highest team in the 70s. And in college, the lowest team is like 62 plays a game and the highest team is 90.”
“Not only is there more plays in college, there’s a greater deviation in the plays. So how do you prepare the player to play the different type of games that he’s going to play in, and what does that do to him in practice and what’s the cumulative effect of that.”
“In the NFL, all the official does is stand over the ball until the officials are ready to call the game. That’s all the day. Saying all that to say this, the reason that they came up with the 10-second rule, which I had nothing to do with, was the fact that they used to stand over the ball for 10-12 seconds when we had the 25-second clock before they started the chop the clock to start the 25-second clock.”
“So they figured why not do the same with the 40-second clock. And when they actually studied the no-huddle teams, they only snapped the ball an average of four times a game inside of 10 seconds.”
“You’re not really affecting how they play, but what keeps you from being able to ever take a defensive player out, whether he’s hurt, pre-existing condition, whatever it is, is the fact that they might snap the ball.”
“So you can’t do anything. You’ve got to call timeout to get a guy out. And if you tell a guy to get down, that’s really against the rules, and they boo him out of the park.”
“For all of you out there that know what I’m thinking and the fact that I’m trying to create an advantage for the defense. I’m not trying to create an advantage for the defense. I don’t even think we need an advantage. Why do we need an advantage? If you look at the statistics, we’ve been playing better than most.”
“But it is an advantage to go fast, and I can understand exactly why coaches that go fast want to do it. It’s an advantage. There’s no question. And it’s really who’s creating a competitive advantage then.”