Nick Saban wants college football to adopt the NFL’s pace


Alabama coach Nick Saban is much more successful in college than he was in the NFL, but there’s one thing Saban prefers about the NFL: the pace of the game.

Saban has become the public face of a controversial proposal in college football to restrict hurry-up offenses by preventing the offense from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds have run off the play clock. And although Saban says he has been wrongly portrayed as the guiding force behind that proposal, he does say that the pace of the NFL game is superior to the pace of the college game. Saban says NFL officials are more deliberate about getting everyone into place before putting the ball into play, and he cited Chip Kelly’s offense as an example of one that was plenty fast in Philadelphia, but not as fast as it was at Oregon.

“In the NFL, what they did is the officials stand over the ball until the officials are ready to call the game,” Saban said told “Alright, that’s how they control the pace of play. The coach at Philadelphia ran 83 plays a game at Oregon, and ran 65 a game in Philadelphia. So why do they control the pace of play in the NFL? I mean, I’m just asking.”

Saban’s head-coaching career includes successful stints in college at Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama, and an unsuccessful stint in the NFL with the Dolphins. He says the NFL has figured out how to let the officials properly control the pace of the game, but college football has not.

“They spent a lot of money in the NFL figuring out what’s best for the game and what’s best for the players and they have a lot invested in it and I think sometimes we don’t need to do all the things that they do but I think in some situations the officials controlling the pace of the game in that league has, I think, benefited the players and I would like to see the officials be able to control the pace of the game. I think the officials control the pace of the game in all games, but they don’t in college football,” Saban said.

Saban says he’s concerned about more plays per game in college football translating to more injuries per game. He may also be concerned that his defense can’t stop fast-paced offenses like Auburn and Texas A&M.

46 responses to “Nick Saban wants college football to adopt the NFL’s pace

  1. Nick Saban should be worrying about fixing his bone headed decision making on long field goals at the end of games instead of worrying about the pace of the game.

  2. He’s been whining for over a year. Hopefully other coaches are pointing out that he’s whiny on the recruiting trail.

    The offense controls when the ball is snapped and the defense never has to be set and can continue milling around. That’s balance.

  3. The biggest thing they need to do is get rid of the clock stopping after each first. Worst rule ever..,next to the tuck rule

  4. He couldn’t make it in the NFL, so he wants NFL game rules along with his recruiting advantage, huge salary, and lack of salary cap in college. Kind of pathetic.

  5. Maybe Chip Kelly’s NFL offense ran fewer plays because it is tougher to maintain drives against NFL defenses? Just a thought.

  6. If Saban were a true winner he would want to slay the dragon that is the NFL and prove to everyone he can win at both levels. A lombardi trophy in Saban’s case could cement him as the greatest coach ever (in any sport)

  7. “Saban says the NFL has figured out how to let the officials properly control the pace of the game…” Who is to say what is the “proper” pace of the game? Saban, who doesn’t want a fast-paced offense? If you look at the history of football, there was a time when it wasn’t “proper” to have so much passing, but now we do. There was a time when the “proper” shape of the ball was much closer to round (so they could make drop kicks), but now it is more oblong What is proper changes and evolves. You are an outstanding coach, Saban, but you don’t get to control the way the game evolves. Get a defense that doesn’t tire so easily.

  8. Lou is a successful head coach because he has the best talent, best assistants, is organized, and demands respect. The word innovative isn’t in his vocabulary. If a team wins and the fans love watching it who is Lou orchestrate rules against a faster pace to the game?

  9. I think Chip ran fewer plays in the NFL than he did at Oregon because he was playing in the N. F. L.

    He’d be back coaching against you in the NCAA if he hadn’t…

  10. Chip Kelly tried to run that break neck pace with the Eagles at first. But when he finally realized he was tiring out his own defense with three and outs, he slowed his own pace down on offense.

    Once he did that the Eagles became a much better team. The lack of talent disparity in the NFL prevents teams from playing as fast as in college, because defensive players have to exert more effort in the NFL to stop an offense.

    It’s a lot easier to run more plays on offense in college when your defense is taking on the Colorado’s and the Utah’s of the Pac-12, as opposed to your average NFL offense. In college, bad offenses will stop themselves a lot of the time because of a lack of talent. Not so in the NFL.

    When Chip Kelly was at Oregon, most of his games were over by halftime. So his defenses weren’t worn out. But in the NFL most games are fought until the very end, and running more plays in the NFL places an unnecessary burden on your own defense. Because they’ll be exhausted when the game is on the line.

  11. He may win in college, because of the money he has access to, but he is still a whiner and a loser as a person.

  12. saban’s sudden concern for player safety is laughable.

    its as believeable as his declaration he wasn’t leaving miami to go to tuscaloosa.

    this dude makes bill belichick seem warm and classy.

    come back to the nfl where your team wouldn’t be favored by 25 points 8 times a season and prove you aren’t the loser you appeared to be on your last visit.

  13. Let me get this straight Nickles. So if you can’t beat that kind of offense, let’s change the rule?

  14. The pace of the NFL is a bit slower because week in and week out the opposing team is a legitimate opponent. Even the Browns can put up a fight most weeks. They don’t get to play teams from lower levels.

  15. NFL needs to adopt the college replay system, the NFL’s replay system is horrible. NFL needs to adopt the college OT system.

    One rule i would like the NFL to change is in the last 2 mins of each half, is the clock stops until the refs spot the ball. Too many times i see old refs taking forever to spot the ball or they are fumbling it around, which prevents the offense from snapping the ball. Makes for more exciting finishes.

    College football needs to speed up their games. No excuse for 4 hour games. Its a stopping of clock issue.

  16. what he doesn’t realize is the NFL is getting worse, the college game is becoming more attractive. why would you want to follow the NFL?

  17. Coach, as fans, we wanna see the ball “in play”. Not more “dead time”. A well conditioned and mentally prepared team, should not have to slow down for teams that can’t keep up.

    Being fast and efficient is not less important than being big and strong.

  18. As earlier mentioned, they should eliminate the clock stoppage after every 1st down. Also, if players are trying to get off the field and have no bearing on the play (like hockey players during line changes) there should be no penalty for too many men on the field. These two changes alone would allow the game to move at whatever pace is dictated and would help with the number of plays in a game. I do, however, wish Nick would just shut up. You know the old saying, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” Nick needs to follow this adage.

  19. Is it possible Chip Kelly’s offense ran more play is college because of the clock stops for every first down? Just saying

  20. “Saban says he’s concerned about more plays per game in college football translating to more injuries per game”
    Show us the numbers – there must be someone in Tuscaloosa with a knowledge of statistics and computer programming to go through the data and prove your point.
    Otherwise we will assume you are just making things up to give ‘Bama a competitive advantage.

  21. There are some very legitimate reasons to dislike Saban, but I truly believe the Dolphins would be a much different team had he not left.

    I don’t think it has much to do with Saban not being a capable NFL head coach. I think it’s more of Saban not enjoying coaching at the professional level. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

  22. Funny that Saban has lost his last to games, Auburn and Oklahoma, who ran the hurry up offense against Alabama. If you can’t beat’em just change the rules.

  23. Saban is a good coach but will never be great. He can only win if he gets the best recruits or he changes rules!!!! He only gets the recruits he gets because of the BS he feeds the families and young kids!!

  24. That’s why I can’t watch college football. I want to see a game…not a track meet.

  25. The big baby who couldn’t cut it in the NFL ought to worry more about his big matchups with Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee State than about the “pace” other coaches choose to use.

  26. Translation, I don’t wanna change!!!!!! He’s an ultra conservative and is upset that these new progressive offenses are changing the game hebwas successful in. So he wants to change the rules to benefit his old method and so he doesnt have to change his style. Go to hell, Saban

  27. Pace of play in the NFL is partly determined by only having 53 players on the sideline… not the 105 you see at college home games.

  28. Hard to tell if people just really enjoy talking smack about Saban, or they actually want to see football evolve into a game with 11 small and fast guys on each side of the ball playing 90 snaps a game.

  29. Yes, Nick — your sole focus for this relentless crusade is over player safety.

    We believe you.

    Just as much as we believed you weren’t quitting the Dolphins flameout to take the Alabama job.

    Nick, stop repeatedly lying to us. Relentlessly lying to people’s faces comes way too easy for you. And it’s not very unbecoming.

  30. alwayswantedtobeabanker, it would be so “relentless” if you snow brains would stop making stuff up. He says he didn’t start it. He gave a reason why the “10 second rule” would be useless. YOU, and your minion, are the ones claiming that this is about Nick Saban. I can hardly wait for the STOP sign he puts up against A&M, the barn doodles, and the rest of these “I wanna go fast ’cause I’m too stupid to go slow” coaches…

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