Fatigue...Offense vs. Defense

Why is it that commentators, play-by-play analysts, studio experts, fans, and some coaches harp on the defense being on the field too much and risking fatigue? Why doesn’t anyone ever complain about the offense being on the field too much? Why is it that only the defense can possibly get tired by being on the field too much?

I never hear anyone say, “team XYZ had their offense on the field all night…they dominated the time of possession…the offense for XYZ must be tired.”

Flip the script, “team XYZ had their offense on the field all night long…they dominated the time of possession…the defense for team ABC must be tired.”

If only the defense gets tired, then why not condition the defense more often so that they don’t get tired?

Go Coogs. Peace.

I have always believed that it’s physically easier on the offense because they know the play. Just always seemed easier knowing the play and thus your assignment vs having to react to the play. It is a pretty common occurrence that a good physical offense will wear down a defense if they can keep them on the field. Might also have something to do with the fact that the offense dictates the pace of the game. Just have not seen an offense get tired like a defense can. Then again, it might just be the extra adrenaline associated with controlling the game, scoring points, etc.


I think it’s harder to tackle then to block and/or run. But I see your point, it’s not like it’s an easy game for either platoons. The receivers run constantly, and the Oline has got to power down just like the Dline.

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Offense is fun. You don’t get as tired when you’re having fun. Defense is less fun.

It is always harder for the defense.
The offense has to go forward. The defense has to react and need to go backward. Look at trying to cover a WR. By design this is extremely difficult. You can play any cover that you can think off. It still does not replace the fact that you do not know the play. The best DC “bluff” as much as they can. You can attack the offense with different schemes but ultimately the defense will tire more in a close game. This is when the running is essential.


I don’t think defense will get tired if they can score.

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i dont think our offense is in shape either…in a different forum a lot people were talking about how houstons players werent conditioned and that might be the cuase of our second half slumps… in the tulane game the commentator noted that many of our Oline needed oxygen tanks and that one was puking on the sideline late in the game


The big difference between offense and defense is that the offense controls the pace of the game. If your offense is getting tired, you can slow the play down. Take the whole play clock to snap the ball, make substitutions as needed, or even take the Briles option and have a receiver just outright stand there and take the play off. The defense doesn’t have any of those options.

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I thought UNT’s OL looked tired late in the game when we were getting more pressure. Our strategy to tire them out by keeping them on the field worked perfectly. :slightly_smiling_face:


Next time you are walking your dog in the park, let your dog chase you. Then take a turn and chase your dog. Come back and tell us which way had you breathing the hardest.

Now imagine somebody blocking or holding you while you chase your dog.


It’s also the fact that on defense everyone flys to the ball. There are plays on offense (majority of the time) that the remaining players away from the play can walk or jog. The defense doesn’t get that option. Imagine running full speed to the left for a quick pass, then full speed to the right for a stretch play. Offenses can get tired, but it’s WAY harder on a defense. Especially a man-attacking style defense.


I think a most of it comes down to depth. The 1st string of decent teams can often compete with the 1st string of great teams. That’s why you tend to see underdogs hang around for a couple of quarters against much better teams, only to get blown out later in the game. UNC hung with Clemson until near the end, and Ole Miss was leading Bama after a quarter. We held our own against OU early in the game and we pushed around WSU until the 3rd quarter. Elite teams win by having much better backups. We have good talent at a lot of positions but a lot of our depth is redshirted.

We are pretty thin on defense. Receivers and running backs tend to rotate frequently, but our starting DBs and LBs have to play a lot more snaps. For the season up until now, our TOP is just about every with our opponents.

I haven’t looked deeply into the stats but lack of depth would be my first guess. I would be interested to see how many snaps our starters have taken compared to our opponents.


Just for accuracy sake, UNC hung with Clemson for all 4 quarters. UNC would have taken it to OT if they did not choose to gamble on a 2 Pt conversion right at the end of the game.


During the UCLA - Oklahoma game they were talking about the UCLA HC and what OU has now and what Oregon had when he was HC there.

They talked about how Oregon did not care how fast they went because they went 3-4 players deep by position on the D. They even had 4th quarters where fresh 3rd and 4 team players were controlling the opponents O.

They then spoke of OU and how they were doing that with their D and expecting even more depth next year.

If you watch UH DC he is doing that with the DL and next season will have enough depth at DB and S that 3 deep will be good. Even the LB position will be close with the return of injured players and some JUCO/transfers.


It’s always seemed to me, that, in all things it’s easier to be proactive than reactive. Surely the analogies break down at some point. But it seems it would not only be more physically taxing but also more mentally taxing.

I like your thinking. That is the ideal situation.
Some defenses exude this attitude. They are the same ones that win often.

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I gained a lot of respect for Mac–choosing to go for the 2 instead of tying it up.

He seemed a little miffed at is OC at the end of the game. He said he asked the OC if he had a play that would succeed for the 2-point conversion. The OC said he did. Then Mac said that the play didn’t work–kind of accusingly.

I still respect him for going for it. You’ve got a chance to drive the stake into their hearts–take it.


Yeah, but the old logic was go for a tie at home and the win on the road. Of course that was before the OT process.

Absolutely agree. Playing #1 with a chance to win it. Gotta go. No doubt.


He knew he didn’t have the best team. In that situation you go for 100% of the time.