Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema crossed the line when he tried (and failed) to link the death of the late Cal Football player Ted Agu to the safety issues of hurry up offenses. Agu, who passed after a team wide workout on Feburary 7th, left no clear sign behind as to why his life ended — but let’s get one thing straight: it had nothing to do with up tempo offenses. Football is a dangerous sport. That’s why trying to slow down college football is like the NFL’s protection of punters and kickers — it’s counter intuitive. Even if saftey was an issue relative to the tempo of the game, it is the difference between dull children’s scissors and sharp ones. Dull scissors don’t work as well, and of course we need to protect young kids, so slow down Pop-Warner games. They don’t draw massive crowds. Football though, like scissors, when dulled down becomes less fun to watch. When you pick up sharp, useful scissors, you assume the risks they present, just like football. That aside, because saftey, contrary to Bielema’s belief, doesn’t change with tempo, lets look into what he had to say.
Bielema said that “Death certificates” were all he needed as it pertains to slowing the game. He claims, “There’s no more anything I need than that.” That’s right. No more that that except, just maybe, a set of morals.
Now look, I get it, his job security is only maintained if he can win, and of course his job should be easy. No need for the drawing board — just the board of the NCAA Rules Committee. Why work hard to win when you can manipulate feelings and twist the death of a young man for your own benefit? Bielema has gone too far. In a recent article, Nick Saban was called out for his stance on up tempo offenses, yet his was simply a man seizing opportunity. Nick Saban has the power and is in the position to make his job easier, and rightfully so having won multiple national championships. He can make a remark or two that are not out of line and hope something good comes out of it. Bielema, however, is nowhere near Saban’s level; this wasn’t a “remark or two” either. Bielema is a man who has been hired to develop young men into adults while helping them pursue an athletic career, and he has shown that he cares more about stuffing his pockets at times then his regard for players at the college level. Hopefully Bielema and the rest of college football learn something from this, and hopefully Ted Agu is remembered for a long time to come.