Dick Harmon: Traditionalists fear advent of up-tempo football

Published: Friday, June 21 2013 6:10 p.m. MDT

Saban called it an issue of “fairness” as he posed the question, “Is this what we want football to be?”

Well, Chip Kelly, Arizona’s Rodriguez, Sumlin, Freeze and BYU’s Robert Anae all answer that without hesitation: Yes.

Heck, yes.

Fact is, offensive players in a no-huddle are playing just as many downs, they’re on the field at the same time, moving, running and colliding at the same rate and frequency. Aren’t they risking the same danger? Exposure?

There is no evidence that supports the plodders-and-grinders theory that the race horses who are dink and dunkers are injured at a higher rate because they play up-tempo.

Saban thinks because you cram in more plays and extend snaps in a drive, not only in games but in practice, you’d have more injuries. But a study by Phil Steele of 2011 injuries showed more injuries occurred with pro-style offenses who run the clock and grind it out. Option, turf-eating, clock-killer Army ranked No. 7 in injuries that season.

Ban the up-tempo strategy by legislating rules to promise an amount of time in between snaps?

It’s like the Spanish armada telling Captain Sir Francis Drake it was unfair for the British fleet to use anything but giant mainsails and outlaw rigging jibs and spankers.


Give us a break. The non-Alabamas are going to do what they can do with the resources they have.

Don’t be tinkering with the rules to protect your muscle, blue bloods.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at dharmon@desnews.com.

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