Coaches' reaction to the 'slow-down' rule

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin spoke out against the proposal the rules committee is considering. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Ever since the NCAA football rules committee proposed the 10-second defensive substitution rule -- dubbed by many as the "slow-down" rule -- what is typically a quiet time on the college football calendar has felt more like WCW Starrcade.

"That's close," new Rutgers offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen said recently. "But it actually feels more Capitol Hill politics. Trust me, I know. I coached at Maryland for a long time."

And that seems to be the most irritating rub of all: the politics.

In case you've been hibernating, here's the hurry-up version of what has happened: The rules committee, a collection of football minds covering all NCAA divisions and chaired by Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, proposed what amounts to a 10-second pause after the start of the play clock in which time the offense can't snap the ball, which allows the defense a better chance to swap out players. That proposal will be on the table Thursday, when the NCAA's 11-member playing rules oversight committee votes on whether to make it an actual rule.

The 10-second idea was initially pitched as a safety issue, behind the argument that players aren't able to get off the field when their health is being compromised. In short, more plays equal more injuries. But coaches who live and breathe by fast-paced spread offenses -- a number that seems to grow each season -- argue that such safety concerns are nothing more than a Trojan horse, in which the "traditional" teams are seeking to slow down the game's offensive revolution.