By Will Vandervort
To no surprise, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is definitely not in favor of the proposed rule change to slow down offenses in college football. What is surprising is how frank he is about it.
“That’s the dumbest rule,” Swinney told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “That rule right there reminds me of public reaction people had when they put in the forward pass. It’s just the craziest thing. That makes no sense, and to hide behind player safety is wrong because it’s just not factual.”
The proposed rule change came up last month when Alabama head coach Nick Saban and a few other coaches tried to legislate to the NCAA rules committee that the fast paced offenses were subjecting their players to more injuries, though they had no evidence to back up those claims.
If passed, the proposed rule will prohibit teams from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds run off the 40-second play clock, which would allow defenses time to substitute. The exceptions would be in the final two minutes of each half or if the play clock began at 25 seconds.
Clemson usually likes to snap the ball with 30 seconds left on the play clock and not later than 23 seconds, and offensive coordinator Chad Morris is expected to turn up that tempo even more this year in his fourth season with the Tigers.
Swinney says defensive coaches have no need to complain because the last time he checked the only guys on either side that rarely get a break in the up-tempo offenses are offensive linemen.
“Most of the time, when you look at defenses, they rotate their defensive line the whole game. We do it, most teams do it,” Swinney said. “Those offensive linemen play just about every snap. So we’re going to sit here and cry for guys who are playing 30 snaps when you’ve got guys on the other side playing 70? Give me a break.
“It’s an agenda, that’s what it is. If we’re going to talk about player safety, then when they’re going to blitz seven and we’ve only got six, is that extra guy going to hold his hand up before he comes so we know where he’s coming from and that kind of stuff? The whole thing is ridiculous.”