One of the hottest college football topics so far this offseason has been the NCAA’s 10-second rule proposal. From Nick Saban to Kliff Kingsbury, nearly every coach has weighed in on the idea of giving defenses 10 seconds before the offense can snap the ball. Steve Spurrier has even tabbed it the “Saban Rule.”
For the most part, the divide seems to be split between innovative offensive minds and traditionalists. For example, a coach like Auburn’s Gus Malzahn relies on an up-tempo offense, while Saban would like more time to get his players situated to stop an attack like Malzahn’s.
The coaches in favor of the rule addition have been using the player safety argument, while those against it have said that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that up-tempo offenses put a player’s health at greater risk.
Florida’s Will Muschamp had remained mum on the situation until he sat down with the Orlando Sentinel for an exclusive interview. When asked about the rule, Muschamp cut through the arguments that every other coach was using.
“My honest opinion is I think it’s comical for everyone to come out either for it or against it and say this is what’s best for college football. Because it’s really not what’s best for the game, but it’s what’s best for your interest. I did a study two years ago on when is the ball being snapped. On average each game, four to six plays on average were snapped before 30 seconds. So we’re talking about four to six plays in a game. We’re not talking about half the game. My point being, is what does it really change? I could care less about the rule. The only thing I will say is the administration of the game for the officials is very difficult.”
“Example, an offensive team gets a first down. The ball is being snapped before they even set the chains for the next first down. Is that good for the game? I don’t think so. Those things as far as administration for the officials is very difficult and my conversations with [SEC head of officials] Steve Shaw and some of the officials I’m friends with. It becomes very difficult for them to get their eyes where they’re supposed to be and execute their jobs. I don’t think that’s good for the game. So would it be good to have a little slower tempo for the game without slowing down these teams? Sure. But whatever we compromise on, I’ll be fine either way.”
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel will address the proposed rule on March 6. If it does pass, offenses will be forced to wait 10 seconds to snap the ball next fall. From what Muschamp is saying, however, very few plays per game will be affected one way or the other.