According to the Associated Press, the NCAA and its referees have gotten together during the off season and decided that they will be taking a more active role in controlling the pace of the game.
“From the officiating standpoint, we kind of got caught up in this thing and allowed ourselves to sort of get overwhelmed by it. Too much rushing around, hurrying and trying to be speedy about getting the ball in play and it sort of put the defense at a disadvantage.” NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding noted.
Most of you will remember the NCAA rule change back in 2008 where the play clock went from 25 seconds (stopping at the end of the play and starting on the officials hand signal), up to 40 seconds (where the new play clock starts as soon as the last play ended). Once offensive guys realized they could push the tempo more in the new 40-second clock system, they took full advantage, and officials note in the AP article that they’ve been trying to adjust to the pace ever since.
Instead of a set of ground rules, officials have come up with some general guidelines aimed at pleasing both sides of the ball, called “pace-of-play procedures”. No longer will you see officials sprinting to get in position, instead, the ball will not be made ready for play until all officials have jogged / hustled to their proper positions.
It may seem like a small change, but this adjustment certainly favors defensive coordinators as it is bound to slow the pace down, even if it’s just a touch, offenses are no longer snapping it on their terms. Good offensive coaches will adjust and have their guys set in formation and ready to roll as soon as soon as the play is whistled live in order to negate any advantage for the defense.
As a no huddle coach, I can’t help but think that this a small win for those FBS coaches in favor of the 10-second rule. Am I wrong?