The fairness of quick snapping

semerson@macon.comNovember 1, 2012 

ATHENS - Georgia runs a hurry-up offense, so its defense is used to practicing against one - but not quite as fast as Ole Miss runs it.

If you're looking for a clue as to why Ole Miss is better this year, look to the offense, which ranks sixth in the SEC in yards and scoring. And a big part of that is running a quick-snap offense that gave even Alabama some headaches.

In fact, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made a veiled complaint about the quick snapping earlier this month, wondering whether it would lead to more defensive injuries.

"Is this what we want football to be?" Saban said.

Speaking at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Mark Richt - not quite in a position to pass judgment on the fairness of a hurry-up offense - said Ole Miss' approach was a concern for the Bulldogs. Richt said the Rebels get snaps off quicker, limiting the ability of the defense to counter with substitutions.

“They’ll sub some, but to go as fast as they go, they’re doing it without doing a lot of subbing at times,” Richt said. “Our biggest challenge is just going to be to line up and get ready because they’ve caught a lot of people not being ready and they’ve taken advantage of that.”

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham does like to sub a lot. But he said the Rebels' hurry-up was "not that big of a deal" from the standpoint of having to defend against it in practice. Grantham did grant that Saturday will be different.

"Anytime you go into a game situation obviously it's not like practice, so we'll have to adjust as the game goes along, and be ready," Grantham said. "We're aware of what they do, so we just have to be prepared for it and move on."

Richt has said often that he wanted to bring the no-huddle to Georgia, but was hesitant because officials would stop play for the defense to substitute, making it less effective.

“Those officials now are getting off the ball and letting you play,” Richt said. “If you sub anybody, even a running back for a running back, it doesn’t have to be going from three receivers to two receivers, but if you make any substitution whatsoever, you’ll see those officials out there holding everything to see if that defense is going to sub. If they do, they’ll stay on top of that ball long enough for the defense to sub. They really don’t give the defense very long.”

Georgia sophomore cornerback Damian Swann was asked if it was fair for an offense to be able to run plays too quick for the defense to substitute.

“It’s not fair, you just have to play with it,” Swann said. “A lot of things are not fair, but you just have to go with it.”

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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