Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema
Bret Bielema was great and handled the event well, but his stance on hurry-up offenses leaves a lot to be desired. This is a guy who's bringing smashmouth football to Arkansas and is now worried about player safety.
Note the term "smashmouth football."
The debate on pace of play took center stage on Wednesday when Bielema railed against hurry-up offenses and how they put players at risk.
"You cannot tell me that a player after play five is the same player that he is after Play 15," Bielema said. "If you want to play hurry-up offense, play it, I'll play you, I don't care. But it doesn't mean that I cannot try to protect my players offensively and defensively."
This comes in direct opposition to Auburn head coach and no-huddle proponent Gus Malzahn, who laughed off the criticism earlier in the day.
"When I first heard that, to be honest with you, I thought it was a joke," Malzahn said. "As far as health or safety issues, that's like saying the defense shouldn't blitz after a first down because they're a little fatigued and there's liable to be a big collision in the backfield."
Bielema wasn't joking.
"It's not a joke to me. It's something that I really feel strongly about. It's not rhetoric."
Only it is.
Alabama's never-ending stream of 270-pound linebackers who run 4.5 40-yard dashes are also dangerous. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is also dangerous.
Football is a dangerous game, and while there are safety issues that arise with hurry-up offenses, that doesn't mean they should be regulated out of the game.
Bielema knows that he's fighting a losing battle in regard to pace of play, which is why you saw him come out strong against no-huddle offenses on Wednesday.
It won't work, though.