Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has taken exception to the recent quotes by Alabama head coach Nick Saban regarding the use of spread attack, no-huddle offenses that have taken over the college football landscape.
Last week, Saban denounced the way college football offenses have transformed, calling it an injury risk to defensive players.
“The (offensive) team gets in the same formation group, you (the defense) can’t substitute defensive players – you go on a 14-, 16-, 18-play drive and they’re snapping the ball as fast as you can go and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can’t even get lined up,” Saban said. “That’s when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they’re not ready to play.”
Saban added that the no-huddle offense has “obviously created a tremendous advantage for the offense…at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety.”
On Wednesday, Swinney, an offensive minded coach, responded to the Saban comments.
“I don’t agree with that,” said Swinney. “I think that we have a play clock, and if you look at us, we substitute all the time. We play fast, but we’re constantly changing personnel, constantly multiple formations and shifts and personnel groupings.
“When you do that, the defense has to be allowed to change personnel, and that’s the refs’ job, to manage that part. But we don’t just put the same 11 guys out there and play them for 80 plays. You know, I don’t know if there’s a lot of teams that do that.”
Ultimately, the quotes from Saban sounded like sour grapes from a defensive coach that has made his living with big, tough defenders in a scheme that is designed to confuse offenses and quarterbacks. The evolution of the game has made it harder for him to accomplish his goals.
Still, his defense is pretty darn good. How Saban adjusts to the Swinneys of the world will dictate the future of college football.