Pac-12 football coaches debate merits of up-tempo offense

Apr 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Lane Kiffin during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 has a reputation of being the fastest conference in football, with four teams (Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, and UCLA) finishing in the top-15 last year in plays per game. While coaches like Jim Mora and Rich Rodriguez embrace the use of up-tempo offenses, the conference’s coaching family has one notable dissenter: Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin spoke yesterday about the proliferation of up-tempo offenses and the potential safety issues they raise, saying that he “[thinks] there’s a conversation there” before adding how he won’t have players hitting as much in practice this season so they can save themselves for game days.

UCLA’s Jim Mora, on the other hand, praised the style of play:

I’m used to huddle. Break the huddle. Linemen walk up to the line of scrimmage, they kind of wiggle down into their stance and there’s a little motion. The ball’s snapped and everyone comes back to the huddle. It was funny how quickly I started to enjoy that up-tempo. It was like basketball fast-break. Plus, I saw it could be a real advantage for us offensively.

Kyle Wittingham of Utah made the most interesting comment, saying how the issue isn’t the number of plays run but the length of the game itself:

What I do think is the college game is too long. It’s too many plays. Of the NFL, high school and college, college is by far the most plays per game. Rather than slow down the pace of the offense, I think shorten the game a little bit. Don’t stop the clock after first downs. Do two or three things to shorten the game naturally without having to dictate how people approach the game.

What do you think, FanSiders? Are up-tempo offenses just a gimmick? Are they here to stay? Sound off in the comments below.

[Source: ESPN]

Topics: Jim Mora, Kyle Whittingham, Lane Kiffin, Pac-12

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