Saban. We don't need to change the rules. If you don't like it, destroy it with your defense. I have no doubt you can. Is the keep-away strategy of running 4 yards per down better for the game? I personally think up-tempo is just flag football - but if you combine it with good rushing and defense, conditioning will change the game.
First, Nick Saban said no-huddle, fast-paced offenses might lead to more injuries for defensive players. Then a number of coaches who run up-tempo offenses responded in the negatory. LSU’s Les Miles said uncalled holding penalties were a bigger safety threat than speed-’em-up offenses. Bringing things full circle, CBS analyst Gary Danielson sided with Saban and made it clear he’s no fan of pinball scores for football games.
With so much talk about tempo and hurry-ups and no-huddles, we thought we’d take a look and see which teams are actually snapping the ball quickly and which teams are snapping the ball slowly. Also, what’s the difference between fast and slow?
So, we cooked up our Tempo measure. It’s not that detailed a formula. Just take the total time of possession for each SEC team this year, convert that number into total seconds of offensive possession, and then compare that number to the total number of offensive plays run by a team so far.
The result? A measure showing how many seconds pass between offensive snaps for each SEC offense. And to put things in context, we also went back to the 2011 season to provide a comparison number.
Below… our Tempo measure:
|School||Total T.O.P.||Total Seconds||Total Off. Plays||Seconds/Play ’12||Seconds/Play ’11|
* Missouri and Texas A&M were in the Big XII in 2011.
* Teams speeding up so far this year: Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina (barely). That’s half the conference.
* Teams slowing down: Texas A&M, Missouri, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Florida.
* Of those teams speeding things up, you have Hugh Freeze’s Ole Miss offense and then a number of teams that are throwing the ball more. More passes equals more incompletions and clock-stoppages and, thus, more plays overall.
* Missouri and Texas A&M were both able to move things a bit more quickly in the Big XII than they have (so far) in the SEC.
* Auburn and Mississippi State have both moved further away from the spread hurry-up mode of a season ago. Florida, meanwhile, has become a throwback team that pounds the ball on the ground, chews up clock, and then relies on a stingy defense to win games. Big changes by design.
* The 2012-to-2011 comparison will take on more meaning as the season wears on, obviously. Once teams get further into SEC play, it will be interesting to track whether or not those seven teams playing at a faster pace this year are able to continue to do so. And we will check back in on the Tempo measure from time to time.