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Carroll Calls for Pass on Replays vs. Irish

October 12, 2005|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer

USC Coach Pete Carroll months ago made a decision that could affect the outcome of the top-ranked Trojans' game Saturday at ninth-ranked Notre Dame.

As coach of the visiting team in a nonconference game, rules give Carroll the option whether to use instant replay in a game. He chose not to.

"I don't like it," he said this week. "I never have."

The only other nonconference road game on the Trojans' schedule this year was the season opener at Hawaii, a member of the Western Athletic Conference -- one of only two conferences in Division I-A football that did not fully adopt instant replay for this season. The other is the Sun Belt Conference. Instant replay will be used in all bowl games.

The NCAA does not keep track of schools that decline to use instant replay, but David Parry, coordinator of officials for the Big Ten Conference and national coordinator of officials for the Collegiate Commissioners Assn., said USC probably was the only school to opt against it this season.

"I have heard of no other schools turning down instant replay other than USC," Parry said.

Carroll was not a fan of instant replay when he coached in the NFL. He said he remains a critic because it stops the flow of a game and because determinations made by replay officials can be incorrect.

"Why stop a game if you're going to make mistakes fixing mistakes?" Carroll said.

Other schools have nixed instant replay for a nonconference game before this season.

Last fall, UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell opted not to use the system when the Bruins played at Illinois. However, Dorrell agreed to use the system at San Diego State this season.

Tom Hansen, commissioner of the Pacific 10 Conference, said replay systems cost $250,000 to $300,000. Nearly every conference utilizes a system that features a replay official, an assistant replay official and a video technician tracking plays live and on video monitors from the press box.

The replay official is the only person who can request to review plays. Plays involving a sideline, goal line, end zone or end line are reviewable. So are those involving whether a fumble occurred, a pass was completed or the ball broke the plane of the goal line. Judgment calls such as holding and pass interference are not reviewable.

Hansen said that through 29 games at Pac-10 stadiums and one at Seahawk Stadium in Seattle, 20 had one or more stops for replay. Of the 38 plays that required a stop, 24 of the field officials' calls were sustained and 14 were reversed. The average time for a replay review is 1 minute 58 seconds, and Hansen said there have been four cases where the replay officials made a mistake.

One occurred in UCLA's game against Oklahoma, when UCLA should have been credited with a safety. In USC's game against Arizona State, a long first-quarter pass from quarterback Matt Leinart to Reggie Bush should have been ruled a completion.

"Sometimes it works in your favor, sometimes it doesn't," Bush said.

USC, which has been involved in eight stops for replay reviews, also has benefited from the system. Running back LenDale White was credited with a touchdown against Arkansas when a replay official determined the ball had broken the plane of the goal line. Safety Josh Pinkard was credited with an interception against Oregon when a replay determined his foot was inbounds.

But Carroll was irked two weeks ago against Arizona State when the game was stopped four times for replay reviews. None went in the Trojans' favor.

No plays were reviewed in last week's game against Arizona. However, Carroll thought the ball clearly broke the plane of the goal line on a play in which Leinart was ruled out of bounds.

As he began preparations this week for Notre Dame, Carroll stood his ground against instant replay.

But he grinned and broke out in laughter when he said, "I bet it comes down to one of those plays."

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