Football: Tony Franklin unconcerned proposed new rule will slow Bear Raid offense


The NCAA Football Rules Committee, at two-day meetings that ended Wednesday in Indianapolis, have proposed a change that will prevent offenses from snapping the ball earlier than with 29 remaining on the play clock in order to give defenses the change to make substitutions.

The proposal, which still must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month, shouldn’t inhibit teams that play fast-paced football, the committee said. If approved, the new rule will go into effect next season.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes joined the conversation Thursday, tweeting, “New rule slowing down college football at its height of popularity isn’t about player safety, it’s about a who runs college football.”

Bears offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had heard rumblings about a possible change during the season and wasn’t surprised by the news.

But he thinks it’s a reactionary move by coaches who prefer traditional, defense-oriented football and he isn’t worried it will slow down his offense.

He’s also not buying the committee’s rationale that safety is the reason for the change.

“People for a long time have kind of had their way defensively who don’t anymore. They’re trying to get something back,” he said.

“If it was truly a safety issue, what they should do is not let defenses hide their blitzes until the last second or send someone off the edge to hit a quarterback in the back. That’s the advantage the defense has, to do all those things at the last second.”

Franklin said he’s unaware of any data showing that uptempo football is resulting in more injuries. “I’ve never seen anything ever, except the opinions of defensive coaches,” he said.

The Bears averaged 88 offensive snaps per game last season, and Franklin guessed that perhaps four or five of those each game came before the play clock reached 29 seconds. So he’s not worried this will change what the Bears are trying to do.

“I don’t see it playing a huge role,” he said. “It’s just a pacifying thing of some nature. I don’t think it will have much impact.”


The change would allow defenses to make substitutions within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception being the final 2 minutes of each half.

Under this rule proposal, the offense will not be allowed to snap the ball until the play clock reaches 29 seconds or less. If the offense snaps the ball before the play clock reaches 29 seconds, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty will be assessed.

Under current rules, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first. This part of the rule will remain in place in scenarios where the play clock starts at 25 seconds.

“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” said Troy Calhoun, coach at Air Force and chair of the rules committee.

“As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”


The committee also proposed a change to the use of instant replay on targeting penalties. Click here for the entire NCAA news release.

Jeff Faraudo

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I am fine with this proposal. If approved it will kill fake injuries, fake injuries like northwestern’s against us last year, and, um, our faked injuries against you know who a few years ago… 😉

  • dw

    I don’t recall many plays when Cal snapped the ball with 30 seconds or more on the play clock. So only effect would be to allow substitutions when before there were not any, Speedier play is not affected

  • Gobears49

    1. Don’t think the rule will necessarily kill fake injuries, as some teams may feel they need the plays delayed even more than the 29 second rule will require.

    2. This rule obviously not invoke a delay of game penalty if violated, which does not describe what would be violated, Instead, if the new rule is violated, it should be called something like a “speeding up the game” penalty.

  • Will

    Gobears mentioned it, but I let out a chuckle when I read this:

    “If the offense snaps the ball before the play clock reaches 29 seconds, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty will be assessed.”

    Come on NCAA, it won’t kill you to name a new penalty.

  • sunshipballoons

    Will they also be getting rid of the “defensive subs after offense subs first” rule? Because that rule usually gives the D more time than this to sub — i.e., it actually slows the game down more.

  • sunshipballoons

    The name is perfectly appropriate. If you snap it too soon, the officials have to stop play and it delays the actual starting of the next play. Delay of game.

  • Michael Naudin

    While that may be true, part if not most of the benefit of the “warp Speed” offense is to put the pedal down when the D is tired. Letting them sub takes that away…

  • dw

    True, but again, how often did that happen with Cal. As I recall, Cal’s offense subbed many of the receivers every play

  • Robert Bulwa

    How can anyone claim that more plays doesn’t equal more injuries. Come on, Mr. Franklin, use common sense. My solution is to prohibit sending in plays using hand signals, etc., go back to using alternating subs to carry in the plays, like in the old days.

  • 707 Bear

    Great idea.

    I’ve been on this for a while and it is a safety issue.

    Any dads out there want their kid to play nose guard against an offense that runs 90 plus plays? That’s a lot of collisions for a teenager.

    Some say just have a deep bench and substitute.

    Three problems:

    First, it’s hard to substitute with the up tempo.

    Two, what if your son gives the team the best chance to win. Do you think a coach who stands to gain millions if he wins a few extra games will care if your kid has already been in the game for 70 plus plays. He’s staying in there.

    Three, what if your team has had tons of injuries (sound familiar); who will substitute?

    Some NFL teams don’t run 60 plays a game. Their league seems to be doing quite well.

  • 1brsfan

    “Old days” are just that, old. We’re in 2014. Times have changed and the game has changed. Keep up or get out of the way!

  • Will

    I understand that; I just find it ironic that a team gets slapped with delay of game for playing too quickly.

  • 1brsfan

    Except that it only applies to 40 second clock. Most plays are run from the 25 second clock, especially when the offense is moving the chains.

  • eastcoastbear

    Cal’s offense might be better if they took more time anyway…also means less time on the field for the defense….like the idea

  • Larry

    Hey, sometimes things go full circle and the old becomes the new again.

  • Larry

    This being a ‘safety issue’ is BS. If they were so concerned about safety then why do they allow it in the “with the exception being the final 2 minutes of each half.” The last two minutes would be the most important time to implement this. I side with Franklin on this being more about defenses trying to get back some leverage.