UNC coach Larry Fedora calls NCAA rules proposal limiting tempo “absurd”

UNC coach Larry Fedora strongly opposes a rule proposal that would limit an offense’s tempo.
UNC coach Larry Fedora strongly opposes a rule proposal that would limit an offense’s tempo. Robert Willett -- rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora is not happy about an NCAA Football Rules Committee proposal that would limit how quickly a college football play can began. Here’s the story.

Fedora during an interview earlier today called the proposal “absurd” and he mocked the assertion that the rule change would be in the name of player safety. Several other coaches who believe in an up-tempo philosophy, like Fedora, have blasted the proposal.

You can read the story above. Here’s a more complete Q-and-A with Fedora:

Andrew Carter: What’s your opinion of the proposed rules change?

Larry Fedora: I think first of all, I think they are questioning our intelligence with trying to push this under player safety. Because I have not seen any evidence, one way or another, that because of the tempo of play that more people are getting injured. So I definitely question that. And we just had the head coaches’ meeting for the AFCA and I was at that meeting and there was nothing that was brought up about this proposed rule. So I’ve heard who was behind it, and for the committee to basically listen to one side of the story is kind of crazy also, in my opinion. I mean, there’s a lot of things that I think could be changed in this game. I mean, I could think of a lot of things in my self-interest that need to be changed for the game, but that’s not what’s best for college football. So I wouldn’t even bring them up.

AC: This will be discussed on March 6 by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Are you confident the proposal won’t go anywhere or are you worried?

LF: Well, I’m worried about it. I’m worried because it all of a sudden came up and got through the rules committee when none of us knew anything about it. So yes, I’m concerned about it. I think that we’re trying to find out now how we feel as a league, with the ACC. I talked to (Duke coach) David Cutcliffe this morning about it, and we’re finding out how the league feels about it so we can get a statement out about how the ACC feels.

And again, I can’t speak for everyone, I just know that to push this under play safety – because this is a year that rules aren’t supposed to be changed. The only way you can do it is through player safety. And again, I would have to see some evidence to prove. Now if you’re just going under the assumption that if you play more plays you have more chance for injury – I agree with that. But if you’re going to say this is under player safety, but we’re going to do it in the last two minutes of the game, well then are we saying we’re not concerned with player safety in the last two minutes of the game? I mean, come on. I just don’t get that.

Hey – let’s propose, I think you’ve got more chance of players getting hurt if the opposing team has too many five-star players on it. So let’s just say one team can only sign two five-star players on its team. How about that? You know, or that all linebackers, when they’re going to blitz, they’ve got to raise their hand so that everybody knows that they’re going to blitz – so we have less chance of somebody getting hit. I mean, to me it’s absurd.

AC: For those of you who are concerned what are the next steps?

LF: Well, I think that getting as much of it out there in public as we can, which has happened in the last couple of days and we’ll continue to talk to coaches all over the country, actually, from Texas to Oklahoma to Mississippi to Alabama – just all over, from different conferences. I think right now everybody’s trying to find out what is the proper protocol, what do we do to make sure that they’re aware of how we feel about it. You know, I know David talked to Grant Teaff today and he’s going to do a quick poll of all the head coaches in the country so he will know as an American Football Coaches Association what the majority of the coaches feel like.

AC: How would the rule affect what you do at UNC?

LF: I think everybody goes under the assumption that just because of tempo, everybody goes fast all the time and therefore you’re playing 80 snaps a game. But it’s not about that. To me it’s about changing those tempos and sometimes you can go fast but other times you’re going at a normal pace. So I’m going to say for us, I’m going to just say that I would go … I’m going to say that it would possibly be from 10 to 20 plays. But I’m just guessing right now. But it’s – some of that has to do with just the procedure time of the officials, or you’re waiting until they get the ball set so they’re snapping the ball. So I don’t know. I am obviously a proponent of being able to change the tempos throughout the game because I think it is a great equalizer. If you look at it, it’s a philosophy. And the game of football has evolved over time with different philosophies. If not, we would all be running the exact same offense and we’d all be running the same defense. And whoever just has the biggest, fastest, strongest players would be successful. And I’m not sure that’s what people want college football to be about it.