LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Nick Saban has spoken. When asked about no-huddle offenses, such as the one Alabama faced against Ole Miss last week, Saban wasn't a fan.
"I think that the way people are going no-huddle right now, that at some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety," Saban said during this week's SEC coaches teleconference. "The team gets in the same formation group, you can't substitute defensive players, you go on a 14-, 16-, 18-play drive and they're snapping the ball as fast as you can go and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can't even get lined up. That's when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they're not ready to play."
Saban, then, is what we would call a huddle-ite. He's advocating a more leisurely brand of football, where players get hurt the old fashioned way, with a gang of Crimson Tide tacklers running over them like a locomotive. Plus, the no-huddle game takes away the ability for defenses to plan and, let's not forget, the ability for defensive geniuses like Saban to scrawl their autographs onto every play. Saban's defense needs to marinate from play to play, to be savored, the coach would seem to be suggesting here.
"It's obviously created a tremendous advantage for the offense when teams are scoring 70 points and we're averaging 49.5 points a game," Saban said. "With people that do those kinds of things, more and more people are going to do it. I just think there's got to be some sense of fairness in terms of asking is this what we want football to be?"
The WDRB College Football Notebook hears you, coach, so we're going to huddle up after each item. Readers, change your defensive personnel groups as needed. Lead Note Louisville, V Right, B Left, on three, break . . .
CARDS TAKING A PASS ON FOURTH-QUARTER THROWING
This stat doesn't mean much, because it's purely circumstantial (and one of the big circumstances has been playing in flooding-monsoon conditions the past two games). But the 'Book is going to note anyway that if you were playing against the University of Louisville football team in the fourth quarter during non-conference play, you could feel pretty safe dropping the safeties down to help against the runs.
In five games, U of L has thrown only 18 fourth-quarter passes this season and completed only eight, for a total of 35 yards. And better than half of those yards came on one 18-yard completion.
The Cards rank No. 121 in the nation in fourth-quarter passing (out of 124 teams).
It's not surprising, given that the Cards were protecting big leads in a couple of those games and dealing with extraordinary weather in two others.
But for next week's Big East opener at Pittsburgh, it's likely the Cardinals will have to pack four quarters' worth of passing game.
(Huddle up. Okay, that was a decent first note but not too lively. Let's see if we can spice things up a little. I want Beaver, Hot Sauce, V Hinge, X in-n-out, Lebowski on two. Break . . . )
OREGON STATE'S SECERT TO SUCCESS IS IN-N-OUT
Oregon State coach Mike Riley has rewarded his players with In-N-Out burgers after victories over UCLA in Los Angeles and Arizona in Tucson. Which got the Wall Street Journal to thinking. The WSJ charted the distance of each Pac 12 road venue to the nearest In-N-Out burger to gauge the Beavers' prospects for success. Turns out, they're probably a good bet against BYU (4.6 miles) and Stanford (5.3 miles). But for Washington (597 miles) they'd better get it to go.
When asked if they might start a similar practice with local teams, Charlie Strong and Joker Phillips grabbed their stomach and gave a wincing, pained expression.
If Usain Bolt can fuel up on Big Macs, who can argue with In-N-Out grabbling a little market share.
Some burgers, some beers, a few laughs. Our troubles are over, Dude.
(Huddle up. All right, let's get back in the game here. We're not here just to quote movie lines, plus if you don't include the profanity, what's the point. Third down call here. Bozich, Barbeque, Z-hook, Y-Slant, on one. Break . . . )
TIME OUT -- FOR BARBECUE
Hattiesburg wasn't the only place dealing with weather issues last Saturday night. It rained in Greenville, N.C., where UTEP was playing a Conference USA game against East Carolina.
In fact, it did more than rain. Lightning also danced across the sky, inspiring a weather delay of 80 minutes. And that sparked UTEP coach Mike Price to action. As Alabama fans remember, Price has been known to enjoy a good time. He also likes to eat.
Word spread that during the rain delay, Price made certain that his players had something to drink and eat. Price enjoyed sharing the story with SiriusXM College Sports Nation:
"Now, we've been there before. This happened in Las Cruces one time and we were in there 2-1/2 hours, and I went out and bought turkey legs. So as soon as we get in there, I talked to the players about adversity, we've been here before and all this kind of stuff. They're saying, 'Where are our turkey legs?'
"So the concessions are closed, and everything's closed and no one's really doing anything. So I said, 'Put some music on, take your shoulder pads off. We're going to be here awhile.' Because every time there's another strike, it's a half-hour. So these guys are getting hungry, and I'm thinking, 'What the Hell?' So [I go] out there. These concession stands are closed, but I'm going to see if I can get these damn things open.
"Sure enough, there's a group of ladies selling barbecue buffet, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and all this barbecue for the Girl Scouts of America. It was a fundraiser. They're not closed. Hey, get me a hundred brisket sandwiches and brats. Sure enough, I hauled them all into the locker room and we had something to eat and another hour we went out."
How did it work out?
Not so well. The Miners slid to 1-4, losing to the Pirates, 28-18. But at least they didn't go home hungry.
(Huddle up. What's with all the food people? Don't we have anything hard-hitting? CBS power, Y go, X stay, Z do whatever you want, on one. Break.)
WHAT'S '60 MINUTES' DOING IN TUSCALOOSA?
Politicians squirm when the word arrives that the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes," has dispatched a correspondent to town. Chatter has kicked up in Alabama this week because of a report that Armen Keteyian, a correspondent for the show, has been spotted in Tuscaloosa.
Don Kausler Jr. of Al.com reported that his sources say Keteyian is not looking into a scandal in Nick Saban's program, the one chasing another national title. He is reportedly there working on a bigger-picture story about college football and will interview Saban for that story.
But stay tuned.
(Huddle up. More TV. Shameless Plug, WDRB special, on four. Break.)
FOX SPORTS (AND WDRB) EARN SATURDAY NIGHT RATINGS WIN
As The Notebook is absolutely certain you know, Fox has jumped into the college football game, delivering a strong lineup of Pac-12 and Big 12 games. Erin Andrews runs the show from the pre-game studio, and Gus Johnson delivers the goods as the play-by-play man.
According to the website, AwfulAnnouncing.com, Fox scored its first national ratings victory last weekend. Texas-Oklahoma pulled a 2.8 rating nationally, which ranked better than the 2.6 that Nebraska-Wisconsin delivered for ABC. More bruises for the Big Ten.
The tug-of-war for eyeballs intensifies this weekend: Fox will showcase West Virginia (and Heisman Trophy front-runner Geno Smith) at Texas. ABC will counter with Nebraska at Ohio State. And NBC gets in the game with Miami (Florida) vs. Notre Dame in a game that will be played in Chicago.
CBS is the only one absent from the prime-time scrum, televising Louisiana State at Florida during the afternoon.
The Notebook trusts that you will make the only sensible viewing decision.
(Huddle up. No play on this one, just go deep and try to look as foolish as possible. On whatever. Break.)
From this week's edition of SportsPage Live, where Rick Bozich used a 4-1 week to pull even with Eric Crawford in the season chase at 20-5.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at KENTUCKY Rick says: MSU 27, UK 17 Eric says: MSU 35, UK 14
WEST VIRGINIA at TEXAS Rick says: WVU 31, Texas 28 Eric says: WVU 45, Texas 35
GEORGIA at SOUTH CAROLINA Rick says: Georgia 35, South Carolina 28 Eric says: Georgia 31, South Carolina 21
NEBRASKA at OHIO STATE Rick says: Ohio State 24, Nebraska 17 Eric says: Nebraska 24, Ohio State 21
LSU at FLORIDA Rick says: Florida 17, LSU 16 Eric says: LSU 21, Florida 10
(Huddle up. Time for the victory formation. On two. Break.)
The top five freshmen in college football this season – as ranked by Steven Lassan of AthlonSports.com.
1. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA – Maybe Shabazz Muhammad won't be the flashiest freshman in Westwood this season. Hundley has already thrown for 1,470 yards and 11 touchdowns.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – The Notebook had the chance to listen to A&M's game against Arkansas on the radio last Saturday while driving from New Orleans to Hattiesburg, Miss., and Manziel was constantly putting points on the board. His numbers don't match Hundley's – 1,094 yards passing and 10 TDs – but they're close.
3. Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, RBs, Georgia – Isaiah who? Bulldogs' coach Mark Richt booted the troubled Isaiah Crowell off the team before the season, and it was expected that the Bulldogs' running game would struggle. Hasn't happened. Gurley and Marshall have run for 964 yards and 14 touchdowns.
4. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – Can a freshman lead the Ducks to the national title? We're about to find out.
5. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami – Al Golden has the Hurricanes on the right track, thanks to Johnson who has rushed for 359 yards and five touchdowns.