The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 18, 2014

Malzahn wants slowdown rule tabled until next year

— AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wants to slow down consideration of a rule taking aim at uptempo offenses.

Malzahn said Tuesday that he has spoken "numerous times" over the previous five days with the chairman of the committee that passed a proposal designed to rein in offenses like the Tigers' hurry-up, no-huddle attack.

He has asked Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the committee chair, to push consideration of the rule until next year.

"This is not a rule change year," Malzahn said. "For a rule to be changed, it has to be under the umbrella of health and safety. There's absolutely zero documented evidence that it is hazardous to (speed up) the pace of play, only opinions.

"What I asked him to do is move this to next year, when it is a rule change year where we can hear both sides and have a healthy debate on moving forward with the rule."

The playing rules oversight panel, which meets March 6, must approve the proposal.

The rule, if it's passed, would give defenses time to substitute by penalizing offenses for snapping the ball before the 40-second play clock has ticked down to 29.

Southeastern Conference coaches Bret Bielema of Arkansas and Nick Saban of Alabama voiced their concerns before the Calhoun-led panel about the effect of the fast-paced offenses on player safety.

Malzahn said he was caught off guard when he learned about the proposed change last week. He has spoken with other coaches who have voiced their opposition but not to Saban or Bielema.

The vocal opponents have included Mississippi's Hugh Freeze, Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin and Arizona's Rich Rodriguez — all run fast-paced offenses. Malzahn said he has also contacted the SEC office, which told him to follow the proper channels.

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