Coaches can challenge calls
Coaches can challenge calls
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NCAA RULES CHANGES
Football coaches can challenge calls
By TONY BARNHART
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 05/30/06
Destin, Fla. ? If Steve Spurrier doesn't agree with an official's call next football season, he'll have more than his South Carolina visor to throw on the field.
Spurrier and other coaches will have a flag ? just like their NFL counterparts do ? that they can pick out of their pocket to challenge a call on the field one time a game as part of a new NCAA instant replay rule put in Tuesday.
Now comes the hard part: figuring out when to send a play to the replay booth for review.
"I'd just as soon not have it but if we're going to have it, I guess there will be a time or two when I'm glad it's there," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday at the SEC's annual spring meetings. "The problem is not knowing when to throw it. I guess I'm going to have to learn like everybody else."
If the coach throws the flag and the on-field call is upheld after replay, his team will be charged a timeout. If the coach is correct and the call is overturned, he gets to keep the timeout. You must have a timeout available in order to throw the challenge flag.
SEC coaches said the tendency will be to hold on to the challenge flag as long as possible in case it's needed at a crucial time in the game.
"I can see a situation where the crowd is booing and wants me to throw the flag and the players are telling me to throw the flag," Richt said. "But once you do that, you lose the possibility for the rest of the game. You never know when you're going to need it."
Technically, every play during the course of a game has a chance to be reviewed and overturned. An official in the replay booth has that authority to review a call if he thinks the officials on the field got it wrong. Last season, the SEC stopped play 66 times to review calls that had been made on the field. It reversed the original call of the officials 17 times.
But there are times during the course of a game when the official in the booth doesn't have the right angle on his replay screen or simply believes that play is not worthy of review. If the coach strongly disagrees and feels a play should be reviewed, he now has some recourse.
"We called timeout once or twice last year to make sure [replay officials] had enough time to review it," Alabama coach Mike Shula said. "When you have to opportunity to change something that was obvious to everybody but may not have been obvious to the official, that is good for the game."
Florida coach Urban Meyer said there was only one play from last season when he would have been tempted to throw the challenge flag. That came against Tennessee, after the Vols had apparently completed a pass close to the Gators goal line.
Tennessee was just seconds from running the next play when officials stopped the game and reviewed the call. The pass was ruled incomplete.
"I almost called timeout there because you want to stop the game if it becomes obvious that the officials didn't see what you saw," Meyer said. "If it can take a wrong and make it right, then I'm all for it."
Rogers Redding, the SEC's new supervisor of football officials, said that if his guys are on top of things, the coaches won't have to use their flags.
"We just think it is a good addition," Redding said. "It gives the coaches a feeling of being a part of the process. I think it's a good change."
The NCAA also made a rules change in basketball Tuesday. No longer will players who are airborne and falling out of bounds or into the backcourt be allowed to call timeout.
"I really didn't have a problem with the old rule but we'll adjust," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "Some people felt strongly about it. I didn't think it was a big deal."