William Correro column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What’s the green dot for, Mr. Ref?

At the moment, Florida is number one to me – in restaurants anyway. The weekend in Jacksonville yielded another good Friday night restaurant find.

We managed to come up with a great one down in Gainesville a few weeks ago too. Most all crews try to have dinner together the night before a game. Works out like a good first step getting the crew together and thinking about the business at hand. After we’re full then its back to the hotel to look at videos from the previous game.

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Then on Saturday, we’ll do the pre-game meeting about five hours before kickoff. That will leave us around an hour off to rest and get dressed.

Then it’s meet the police and van driver for the ride to the stadium about two and a half hours before kickoff.

It was a good atmosphere in Jacksonville for the first of what the Gator Bowl people tagged as The River City Showdown between Alabama and Florida State.

It was an okay game but most agreed neither team looked real sharp. I was really surprised that Coach Bobby Bowden remembered my name from the 2003 Florida State – Florida game. He was standing by me with about ten minutes left in the game and I noticed he was watching the replay on the huge screens at both ends of AllTel Stadium.

 I asked how we ever got along before we had the screens with replays. He just laughed and said he didn’t know for sure but would go nuts now without them. He’s sure one of the real class acts of college football.

Had a friend ask in conversation last week about the fluorescent green dots seen on the back of NFL quarterback’s helmets? The NFL allowed teams to put earphones in the quarterback’ helmets a few years ago. This is a neat concept and they have a restricted time before the ready for play signal that the coach can tell the quarterback what play or where to go or whatever they want to communicate without dealing with crowd noise. The rest of the time it has to be dead. I’ve always known about coaches and how they lie awake at night dreaming up ways to work around the rules to their advantage and the green dot was just another of many additional rules to counter the dreamers.

What had happened was a team would line up quick for a field goal, for example, and before the ready for play whistle and the comm system shutting down for the play, the coach would see the alignment and quickly tell the holder to try a pass instead.

This was deemed an unfair advantage, which is what most football rules are all designed to prevent. Some teams also have a receiver who will also line up at quarterback every now and then with the regular quarterback at a receiver or back position.

In this case one of the two would have to wear a different helmet because the rule forbids more that one player in a play with communication capabilities. And the green dot makes it easy for the officials to see.