BY WILLIAM CORRERO
These days the old remote is getting a good workout going between the two LCS games and then add in Thursday’s ESPN game with Kentucky at South Carolina. Then the boys and I go out to Northwest for their last Thursday night game of the season in the rain. I sure wish it all could be spread out more. Summer and fall are just too short if you ask me.
South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium is strange to see from a distance at night with the lights on. Or even more so during a heavy rain when it is almost dark at mid-day like I saw it for the first time.
They don’t have the usual light towers like most stadiums. The lights are lined up along the length of the stadium above the upper deck and from the outside, the round shape of the place and the round lights above it looks like a UFO or something similar.
I remember one game I was in there asking the poor student manager who had to follow Coach Holtz up and down the sideline what he had done to deserve that assignment. He just frowned and said, "I’ve been a bad boy," and walked off shaking his head. His job is to catch the headset and drag the cord behind Lou as he paces up and down the sideline. I’ve noticed their coaches have wireless headsets now but the lowest man on the totem pole still has to be there to keep up with the headset when he throws a fit.
I was talking to my boss, the SEC Supervisor of Officials, last week about some items from a game and he asked about a situation that occurred in a recent game involving one of our teams and a non-conference opponent.
In NCAA rules, the offensive team cannot break their huddle with more than the legal 11 players. This is to keep them from doing any last minute substitutions or "deliberately misleading the defense."
With the now common practice of adjusting a defense because of the offensive personnel on any given play, this has really become a hot topic.
There had been a situation where the offense tried to wait until the 25-second play clock had run down to 10 seconds and then substitute a receiver and running back with the hope the defense couldn’t react in time.
No foul was called but the guilty coaching staff was strongly warned that any more could result in a penalty. It can become a delay of game situation for the offense if the defense sees the substitution and then tries to make their own changes to match what the offense has done.
We have provisions to call a foul on the offense for delay if we believe they were doing the subbing to try and catch the defense with the wrong people on the field.
I don’t think we’ll ever get into a baseball-type roster checking situation but it has almost gotten that bad. The rules basically say if the offense substitutes late in the 25-second count (inside of 10 seconds left on the play clock), the defense must be given time to make their subs or the offense is vulnerable to a delay of game foul.
Previously and in high school rules now, there was no such provision and in the same circumstances the defense could draw a foul for an illegal substitution because of people running on and off the field at the snap.
The rules committee felt that this might be a loophole where the offense could intentionally cause a foul with an unfair act. It’s a tough situation to watch for but it’s part of the game as fast as it is these days.
If it’s 4th down and the offense holds its team at the sideline and then rushes the punting team onto the field, the Referee will delay the ready-for-play signal and the Umpire will stand over the ball until the defense can get their punt return team on the field.
It works the same if there’s a fumble or interception and the offense gets out on the ball real quick and the defense is trying to get there but is slower in the changing of teams. The Umpire will stand over the ball and not let the offense get a "cheap" play or if they take too long, the defense can be charged with delay of the game.
The whole idea in all of this is to keep the playing field as level as possible and to not allow any unfair acts.
As I write this, I’m getting ready for a run to LSU for the Florida game on CBS. Once again I’m hoping for a great game and have a feeling it might be a little different.
At least I hope so. Besides, the game will be history by the time you read this. Then it’s over to Oxford for the Alabama at Ole Miss game. Could be interesting too………..See you next week.