Friday, July 28, 2006

New Rule Appears Open to Interpretation

A rule designed to reduce the length of games ignited a litany of complaints from coaches attending the Pacific 10 media day in Los Angeles. Specifically, the new rule (3-2-5-e) states that after changes in possession such as interceptions and kickoffs, the clock begins as soon as officials mark the ball ready for play. In the past, the clock did not start until the ensuing snap, giving squads time to run onto the field. "It's the most dramatic, drastic change I've ever seen. Nobody likes it," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti told the L.A. Times. Here are two doomsday scenarios: If only one or two seconds remain, coaches asked, will offensive squads have time to line up and snap the ball for a Hail Mary or field-goal attempt? ... If the leading team takes possession with less than 25 seconds remaining — the time allotted to snap the ball before a delay-of-game penalty — it could simply wait on the sideline as officials mark the ball and start the clock. In other words, the game would end with an empty field. "I wouldn't send my offense out there. No sense in taking a chance," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. Verle Sorgen, the Pac-10 coordinator for football officiating, didn't appear to have any answers. "We'll do the best we can," he said.

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