cf. the following analysis by D. Singer (The Yeshiva World - Commentator)
which is I think very much on target. Cf. the satement of the Seridei Eish that R' Chaim's method so swiftly conquered the Yeshivos because it required no great bekius - for anyone can devise a Sevara. (See back of Marc Shapiro's Studies in Maimonides). Concerning the famous Chakira concerning מתוך שאינו יכול לישבע משלם is it that the main obligation is payment but an oath would have also made him פטור or is the main obligation a שבועה but since he can't swear he must pay. R' Weinberg referred to this as a "narishe Telshe Chaikra" for one can similarly ask - Is every person meant to die - but if he eats he will live, or is every person meant to live but of he doesn't eat he will die?
R' Yaakov was very much disturbed by the slow pace of the Yeshivos. He rationalized (according to the biography - R' Yaakov) it because - since the students attend college where they are introduced to all sorts of adavanced ideas - they need to be shown that Talmudic study is as advanced and complex as any other discipline.
The writer of these lines has failed to find any great personality who supports the current method of studying only a few pages a Z'man. The sole exception is perhaps a statement attributed to the Chasama Sofer (Chut HaMeshulash) to wit: "There is one type of student who learn much but his learning is of no value, and there is another type who apparently learns very little but his learning is of real value. The first type learns hundereds of pages of all sorts of books but he is no more then the proverbial "חמור נושא ספרים" for he has no real understanding of what he studies The second may learn only one page but that page is the sugya in Chullin of חתיכה נעשה נבילה on which half of Yoreh deah is based." I don't believe that the CS statement applies to contemporary yeshivos.
If I may add an autobiographical note, I remember the intense frustartion I had in Mesivta. I had finished the daf and the major commentaries and yet was not allowed to continue for the sake of some mythical "havanah". My frustration was such that I was forced לרעות בשדה אחרים in order to find real intellectual challenge.
See also the very interesting analysis of R' Dovid Halivni in his P'shat and D'rash in which he demonstrates that as time passed scholars became increaingly wary of engaging directly with the text. While the Rishonim analysed the texts in a very critical manner (as anyone can see by the quotations in the works of Prof.'s Halivni and Friedman), later generation worked "behind the text". This is the reason for the almost exclusive focus in modern Yeshivos on "conceptual analysis".
(Note: In the Hildesheimer Seminary in Berlin - Students had to write a doctoral dissertation pertaining to a Halachic sugya in order to acheive Rabbinical ordination. For example, R' Saul Weingort wrote his dissertaion on the issue of stocks and their relation to Halacha (Ribbis, Mechiras Chometz). This was actually cited by the Minchas Yitzchok in his discussion of stocks and Mechiras Chometz.)