Arizona's Rich Rodriguez on the safety of the no-huddle offense
LOS ANGELES – Paramount Pictures was the perfect setting for Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez to discuss the safety of the no-huddle offense after releasing a parody of the '90s hit movie "Speed" this spring. The digital short mocked a rule change proposal aimed at slowing down up-tempo offenses in the name of safety. An early pioneer of the no-huddle offense, Rodriguez has been one of the most boisterous voices that spoke out against any rule changes that could slow down offenses, and he maintained his stance on the safety of the no-huddle offense Wednesday at Pac-12 Football Media Day.
“You can read long and hard, but if you think pace of play has anything to do with injuries, you drank the wrong poison. I think it would be hard to find any hard data that shows the pace of play contributes more to injury, but that’s my opinion,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also took aim at the coaches who have been pushing for the rule changes.
“It’s all personal agenda. Why try to defend it when you can just change the rules? I don’t blame them. I would do it, too. I don’t see any guys that are running the no-huddle saying we have a problem with injuries. If it was, as a coach, if you have true concern with your players, which we all do, if you thought that was an issue, you’d change your system,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez wasn’t alone in his stance on the no-huddle’s effect on safety in college football, as his players echoed his sentiments.
“I believe as college athletes that we need to treat ourselves as professional athletes, and part of that is being in the best shape of your life," Arizona receiver Austin Hill said. "The no-huddle helps that. Also, mentally, you have to analyze the situation so fast it actually makes you a smarter athlete."
“I think (Rodriguez) is right," safety Jared Tevis said. "We still get our rest in between plays, it’s not like it is back-to-back. I don’t know if it is healthier, but I can’t say that it is more unhealthy."