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Ramblin' around with Phillip Marshall: Football uproar

Feb. 14, 2014

I can’t remember an issue ever causing college football coaches to rise up en masse like the proposed new substitution rule has. From coast to coast, coaches recognize it for what it is – a brazen attempt by a few coaches – two, really – to pass a rule to stop a scheme they don’t like to play against.

It’s astonishing the rules committee actually bought the notion that it’s about preventing injuries when there’s not a single piece of evidence that hurryup offensive schemes cause more injuries than any other schemes.

The rules committee, starting with Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, ought to be embarrassed and ashamed. The recommendation was made in the dead of night, so to speak. Coaches weren’t given any indication such a thing was being considered. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Brent Bielema, the only real advocates for the idea, were invited to speak to the committee and no one else was.

But here’s a thought that might surprise you: Specifically for Auburn, I don’t believe it will be a big deal even if it is approved, which I don’t expect to happen.

Malzahn’s scheme is at least as much about being physical as it is about playing fast. Greg Robinson, Reese Dismukes, Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, Jay Prosch, Sammie Coates, C.J. Uzomah and friends would succeed in any offensive scheme. Who will really be hurt if the rule is approved are smaller schools with less talent that are able to compete by playing fast.

Do they really want to tell teams like Rice, Troy and others that they should go recruit 320-pound offensive linemen and play smash-mouth football? Really?

I wonder what Calhoun, who uses the triple option as a talent equalizer and whose teams never huddle, would like if it the committee said he couldn’t do it. After all, the purpose of the wishbone and similar schemes is to keep the ball and have long drives, wearing down defenses and making them – gasp! – tired.

Auburn baseball coach Sunny Golloway gracious enough to let me be his shadow from batting practice all the way through the end of Friday’s season-opener against Indiana State. I sat in a dugout during a game for the first time since I coached my last Babe Ruth League game. It was all very enlightening, and I’ll write about it Sunday morning.

One of the sadder parts of the often unhealthy Auburn-Alabama rivalry is when fans at one school celebrate when something bad happens to a player for the other school.

Whether fans want to believe it or not, players at Auburn and players at Alabama are just alike. They have the same hopes and the same dreams. They pay a high price to do what they do, and they deserve respect.

Ironically, the players show more respect for each other and for the rivalry than many of the adults who watch them play.

I would probably go broke, but I believe if I was creating a message board from scratch, I would insist that posters use their real names. An anonymous opinion is like an unsigned letter. What does it really mean?

We’ve reached a sad state when national news outlets use anonymous message board posts in news stories. Could there be a more unreliable source?

Until next time …


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:




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