Saturday, October 20, 2007

The frantic post-game

Deadlines can be a bitch. Filed my game story just in time for our final 12:30 a.m. cutoff. Hopefully it makes sense. Some good quotes came out of the press conferences, but there's not a lot of time to make things clear and concise in situations like these.

Everyone saw Larry Taylor signal for a fair catch. ESPN's replays confirmed he raised his arm, and that's why Louisville's Bilal Powell pulled up. But the referee, apparently, never saw the signal and never blew his whistle. Taylor took off, the rest is history. Here's what they had to say...

"They didn't give me any explanation," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "The explanation they gave me was that he didn't make a fair catch signal. The back judge told me he did not make a fair catch signal. I called time out and asked the head official if I can review that and he said "I'm not sure", quote unquote "I'm not sure". My personal opinion is that there was absolutely no question he called for a fair catch. But that's my personal opinion. That and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee, if you're lucky."

"I saw he caught the ball, ran down the left sideline and then scored a touchdown," Randy Edsall said. "Until I see the film, that's what I saw on the field."

Larry Taylor always wears a wide smile, so it wasn't especially telling that he was grinning both on the sidelines and in the post game interview room. Taylor was adament that he never signaled for a fair catch.

"Fair catch?" Taylor said. "That wasn't no fair catch out there. That was fair play. The referee didn't call anything. But I didn't call for a fair catch anyway."

It took me a couple of listens to my audio tape of Taylor to finally figure this out, but it's a pretty interesting quote. Taylor said the referee said something to him just before the punt.

"He said to make sure I get my hand up high so he could see it," Taylor said.

A reporter followed that up with this "Why did you put your hand up?"

Taylor said, "I didn't really put my hand up. I was playing a mind game with the defender. I don't feel I got away with anything. The referee never blew the whistle."

I asked Taylor if the reason he ran because he never heard a whistle.

"Once I caught the ball, I just ran."

By rule, a fair catch is signaled when a player raises one arm above his head and waves it from side to side more than once. You can nitpick and say Taylor never waved his arm, he just stuck it up there. If that's the case, then by rule the ball never should have been advanced. An invalid fair catch, in this case a player who raises an arm but pulls it back before a wave, can not be advanced more than two steps, according to the NCAA football rulebook.

That's it for tonight (or is it this morning?)...


Blogger Ian said...

some bad calls by the refs tonight. At least you were in the press box staying dry tonight.

I was shocked by how many people actually went to the game tonight. Can't say i wasn't surprised it emptied out though. Everyone missed a great comeback for the Huskies. 2-0 in the Big East, on top for at least another week.

October 20, 2007 1:10 AM 
Blogger David Gillett said...

It all evened out in the end, with the botch Uconn touchdown on the missed call.

October 20, 2007 1:45 AM 

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