Oct 5, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson before the game between the Auburn Tigers and the Mississippi Rebels at Jordan Hare Stadium. Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Ellis Johnson Changes His Tune on the No-Huddle Offense

Auburn Tigers defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has apparently seen the light on the hurry-up, no-huddle offense, despite his earlier objections.

Justin Hokanson, managing editor of Rivals’ Auburn site, says that Johnson said during the summer after working with Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn, that playing against a hurry-up offense helps a defense get better:

Johnson’s thinking on the issue has seemingly evolved from comments he made when not within the radius of Auburn’s Reality Distortion Field.

While defensive coordinator for the South Carolina Gamecocks from 2008-2011, Johnson said that he thought hurry-up offenses were ruining college football, turning it into something akin to lacrosse or soccer.

“What it’s about now is who can snap the football before the other team lines up.  You can’t hardly get your players on and off the field.  You can’t get your signals in and out.  It’s become who has the best signal system or verbiage system. “

“Frankly, I don’t know what that proves except someone has a better verbiage package.  It’s not about blocking, tackling, running, route running, throwing, and so forth. It’s something the college football world needs to look at.”

Johnson’s comments at that time track more closely with those of Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose presence during NCAA rules committee discussion of the no-huddle raised eyebrows among the Auburn faithful last week.

It’s certainly fair to ask an employee to toe the company line; and Johnson certainly could have come around to Malzahn’s way of thinking. But it’s certainly not sour grapes to point out the inconsistency.

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