Meyer Wants to Know Where All His Plays Went

Television wants shorter college football games, and therefore has gotten shorter college football games two out of the past three years thanks to endless futzing with the clock rules. The first installment, a rule called 3-2-5-e, slashed plays from games and elicited much vitriol from pundits and coaches, who scrapped the rule after one year and went back to college football's default clock rules. ↵

↵In 2008, though, the clock rules went to a 40/25 second clock, with the clock winding the minute the officials set the ball ready for play. This change has been a substantial one; ten percent fewer plays are run on average per game than in 2007, and the change has its first major vocal critic calling the new rules "awful": the ever-subtle and shy Florida head coach Urban Meyer. ↵

↵
↵⇥“What in the hell?” said Meyer about his reaction when looking at his offensive numbers. “Where are the points? Where are the yards? What are we doing? Let’s go.” ↵
↵The clock rules, if you'll read them, do not apply exclusively to Florida: every other team happens to work under them, too, and many have adjusted accordingly. Colorado and Michigan both rush to the line in no-huddle and hurry-up sets to get off as many plays as possible under the new rules. Florida could certainly do the same, as they've had an entire offseason to prepare for a rush many saw coming. Auburn switched to the spread offense specifically because of the advantages it gave them in recruiting (or at least that's what Tuberville said as SEC media days), but the huge number of plays and quick tempo of Tony Franklin's attack mesh well with the limits of the new play clock, too. ↵

↵If you think 10 percent fewer plays is an abomination, then this should cause some substantial uproar on your part. Teams have to evolve with the game, though, and if Urban Meyer is unhappy with the way his offense is functioning under the clock rules, then there's a simple solution: grow a hurry-up offense, or content yourself with anemic offensive numbers and a clock working against you all game long. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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