HOT SPRINGS, Va. — Charles Bennett’s game-saving interception in Clemson’s 26-20 victory over N.C. State last year would not have been necessary had the Atlantic Coast Conference used instant replay.
In a demonstration Tuesday during the final day of the ACC 2005 Football Kickoff at The Homestead Resort, officials used a play from that Clemson-N.C. State game last October to show how instant replay can overturn a call made by an official on the field.
“The game is still officiated from the field,” said Tommy Hunt, coordinator of football officials for the ACC. “We just want to make sure we get it right.”
In the demonstration, instant replay proved the officials didn’t get it right on the field. The play in question was a third down pass from Charlie Whitehurst to wide receiver Curtis Baham, who was called out of bounds after making a leaping catch near the Clemson sideline. The officials on the field ruled Baham did not get his feet inbounds before making the catch. Replays that afternoon clearly showed the officials had missed the call and Baham should have been rewarded the reception, which would have given the Tigers a first-and-goal at the N.C. State three-yard line, instead Clemson settled for a 42-yard Jad Dean field goal.
“I think that was the only play I can recall that might have been controversial or would have been subject to review under the rules that involved us last year,” said Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden.
Instant replay did overturn the call Tuesday, nine months too late for Clemson, who possibly could have increased its lead to 30-17 at the time and might not have needed Bennett’s interception to save the win.
“Instant replay will not cure all the problems, but it is going to help,” Hunt said.
The ACC will implement the use of an instant replay system starting with the 2005 football season. The conference will model its experimental procedures on the guidelines developed by the Big Ten Conference during the 2004 season.
Instant replay will be in use for all ACC home games in 2005, pending the approval of respective non-conference home opponents.
“What we want is to get those critical calls right,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This will enhance our officials ability to do so.”
There are several key points of the instant replay system. The system allows for specific types of officiating mistakes to be immediately reviewed and corrected during all conference games.
Only the Technical Advisor, working in the press box, can stop a game to review a play. Unlike the NFL model, neither coaches nor the game officials on the field may ask for a review. In order for a play to be changed, the Technical Advisor must have indisputable video evidence that an error occurred. Television broadcast of the game will be the sole source if there is enough evidence.
Replay will not guarantee that all officiating mistakes are identified and corrected. The types of plays that are reviewable include plays that are governed by the sideline, goal line, end zone and end line, passing plays, and other detectable infractions, such as forward progress with respect to first down.
“I’m in favor of it,” said Miami head coach Larry Coker. “It will cover those things that are sometimes hard to tell, like whether or not it was a touchdown. Did he catch the pass inbounds? Was it a fumble? You know those things.
“I like the fact it is not an official down on the field, but instead the guy in the booth who has all kinds of access to different angles.”
Swofford and Hunt both made it a point that any play reviewed will take no longer than 90 seconds.
“It remains to be seen how it is going to work, but the (official) up there is supposed to get the play down to the field within 90 seconds and if they can do that and not interrupt the flow of the game, then I have no problems with it,” said North Carolina head coach John Bunting. “I would rather have this system than the one they use in the NFL because that one takes too much time.
“If it takes longer than what we, the coaches, are expecting it to, then you might see us (lobbying) to make some changes.”
Instant replay should be a smooth transition for ACC coaches.
“It is not the NFL, nor is it intended to be like the NFL,” Swofford said. “It will extend the game slightly, but it will only be slightly.”
Bowden said having instant replay will cause the coaches to design a few schemes to get to the line and snap the ball if it appears a close play such as Baham's could get overturned.
“We’re going to have to figure something out or get a scheme together that when a play might be questionable we can get them to the line real fast and snap the ball,” said Bowden.
Bowden’s dad, Bobby Bowden, said he has a plan for Tommy’s plan, “I’m going to get all my guys up to the line real fast too, and call a timeout so he can’t snap it.
“You have to watch out for that one. He is a crook,” Bobby joked. “That one, he’s sneaky… he gets it from his mother.”
All joking aside, Hunt said there is little chance a coach can get his players to the line and snap the ball before instant replay may stop the game.
“They may have an opportunity, but we will not let them do that,” said Hunt, who said there will be a minimum of four and a maximum of eight cameras on the field for instant replay in every ACC venue. “The equipment we are using is quick so if someone does try something like that, it will be cut out.”
Clemson’s Tye Hill says having instant replay isn’t really a big deal to the players; he just hopes all the plays go in Clemson’s favor.
“It is only a good thing if it overturns a play for us,” said Hill smiling. “If it goes against us, than I’m not going to like it.”
The ACC reported it cost the conference $450,000 to set instant replay up for its member schools.
“In a 12-team conference, that really isn’t a lot of money,” said Swofford.
Each school was required to setup or make a booth in the press box for the instant replay official, which Swofford said was very little trouble for most institutions.
The ACC’s Instant Replay at a Glance:
Objective: To allow for specific types of officiating calls to be immediately reviewed & corrected.
Principles: There must be INDISPUTABLE VIDEO EVIDENCE for any on-the-field call to be changed. In addition, a review must have a direct, competitive effect on the game, such as a change of possession, scoring play, etc.
The ACC will be using instant replay in all conference games. It is also the intent to use instant replay for all non-conference home games, pending prior approval by the visiting team.
1. Plays governed by sideline, goal line and end line:
a) Scoring plays, including a runner breaking the plane of the goal line.
b) Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted at sideline, goal line and end line.
c) Runner/receiver in or out of bounds.
d) Recovery of loose ball in bounds.
2. Passing Plays:
a) Pass ruled complete/incomplete/intercepted in the field of play and end zones.
b) Touching of a forward pass by an ineligible receiver.
c) Touching of a forward pass by a defensive player.
d) Quarterback (passer) forward pass or fumble (if ruled incomplete, the play is finalized).
e) Illegal forward pass or illegal handing beyond the line of scrimmage.
f) Illegal forward pass or illegal handing after change of possession.
g) Forward or backward pass thrown from behind the line of scrimmage.
3. Other detectable infractions:
a) Runner ruled not down.
b) Forward progress errors with respect to first down.
c) Touching of a kick.
d) Number of players on field.
e) Clock adjustments.
f) Fourth-down/try fumble plays.
Not Reviewable Plays:
3) Pass interference
4) Personal fouls (e.g.,late hits).
5) Illegal blocks.
6) Illegal formations.
7) Face mask.
8) Taunting/excessive celebration.
9) False starts.
10) Roughing the passer/kicker.
11) Fighting Participants.
The ACC Instant Replay is NOT the NFL Model
Statement ACC NFL
The coaches or officials on the field may ask for a review. NO YES
A review can only be triggered by the Technical Advisor from YES NO
the press box.
There is limit to the number of plays that can be reviewed. NO YES
Time-outs may be charged to teams based on the outcome NO YES
of a review.
The status of a game clock can be reviewed. YES NO