The proposed rule to slow down college football offenses by putting in a 10-second substitution period between plays for the defense has drummed up a ton of rhetoric from both sides, with proponents of the rule citing player safety as a reason to keep the pace of the game down. One of the biggest proponents of the rule is Alabama coach Nick Saban, who provided this peculiar quote on the matter, via ESPN.
“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.'”
Essentially, he’s saying that because football is a dangerous game, so fewer football plays makes the game safer, despite the fact that the coaches on his side of the aisle have provided no hard evidence that a faster pace causes more injuries. On the contrary, there are reports that have come out around this issue seem to indicate that slower, more power-based football leads to more injuries.
The coaches who support slowing down the game are the ones who generally play at that pace, and like Saban, seem loath to adjust to the hurry-up offenses of 2014. Arguing for player safety to slow the game down to benefit a specific program on the field seems disingenuous at best.