William Correro column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rule changes concern clocks

So here we go again.

I can say that since I’m starting my 30th year in officiating football. What a ride it’s been so far and it looks like this one will be another great season.

But I’d swear the last college season just ended. I did have spring practices, scrimmages and the spring game with Ole Miss back in March but it really seems like the BCS National Championship Game was just last Monday.

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Now I’m in the third week of Fall Camp working with Ole Miss and the first SEC games are less than a week away.

So, what’s new this year? We have more rule changes regarding both clocks in the game: the game and the play.

This season, you will mostly see the play clock do its countdown from forty seconds with an occasional twenty-five from time to time. What happens now is when the play is over; the covering officials will declare the ball dead by holding a hand straight up over their head.

We first did that last season to sort of get all of us in the habit for this new change. Next, the play clock will reset to forty seconds and start counting down and the offense has that much time to get the next play off.

What requires a referee to really be alert is when the ball goes out of bounds. If the game clock has over two minutes left in either half (2nd or 4th quarter) the play clock starts at :40 and the ball is placed at the next inbounds spot with no ready-for-play signal by the Referee because the game clock does not stop for this.

If a first down is made, the game clock will stop but the play clock resets at :40 and then starts as usual. Since we have more than two minutes left in the half, the referee will only give a “start the game clock” signal after the ball is placed because it is actually ready-for-play when the play clock starts. And it doesn’t matter if the ball carrier had been tackled out of bounds either.

If its inside of two minutes left in either half, then we revert back to the game clock starting on the snap when the ball goes out of bounds. The only times you’ll see the play clock start from :25 is after a kick, a penalty, injury timeout, TV timeout, charged team timeout and few other situations. There are more clock changes for this season but we’ll get into some of them next time.

And there were other rule changes as well. One biggie is the coaches now get twice as many Instant Replay challenges than they had previously. From one to two per game. It sure ought to be an interesting season for sure.

There are teams all around us here with top level football waiting to be seen and enjoyed. Junior high, high schools and our own Northwest along with Ole Miss, State and Memphis are all almost in our back yard.

It promises to be a great year for the Rangers so let’s be sure and pack the stadium at Bobby Franklin Field when they open up with pre-season number one ranked Gulf Coast CC.

I open up the first week with Appalachian State at LSU on ESPN. I never bet on anything but I think it’s safe to say LSU won’t take them for granted like Michigan did last year. We’ll see. So get out and support your favorite teams.