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Campus Union

Arkansas' Bret Bielema sounds off on player safety, supporting hurry-up rule change

Bret Bielema is standing behind his opinion that player safety should be the NCAA's primary concern. (Danny Johnston/AP) Bret Bielema is standing behind his opinion that player safety should be the NCAA's primary concern. (Danny Johnston/AP)

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has been one of the more vocal opponents of hurry-up offenses. So when the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed a rule that would allow defenses 10 seconds to substitute players -- effectively stalling up-tempo attacks -- it was only a matter of time before Bielema offered his opinion on the topic.

Bielema and other coaches who oppose fast-paced play often cite player safety as a concern. On Thursday, Bielema addressed a group of Arkansas supporters and offered his take on the issue.

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Earlier this month, Cal football player Ted Agu died suddenly during conditioning workouts. Bielema used the tragedy as an instance of how player safety should be considered more important to coaches. While the coach's example seems like a stretch, Bielema said any player with similar conditions should be given ample time to sub out of a game.

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Currently, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first.

The proposal must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month before it would go into effect. But given the backlash surrounding the proposal, its implementation is far from certain.

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