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Officials to crack down on college football coaches' sideline antics

Coaches yell at players. Coaches yell at each other. Coaches yell at officials. Our own Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy can chew out a head linesman with the best of ‘em. But for the most part, referee-riding hasn’t dissolved into anarchy. This isn’t basketball.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 16, 2014
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“We want to continue talking. We’re going to tell coaches, just like we do normally, ‘Coach, you gotta help me.’ You can’t be at the 18-yard line. Your area is the 25.’”

Anderson told his officials: “We want you to talk to ‘em. At some point, though, if coaches are continually getting into our space, then we’re going to bring back the formal warning. Just general sideline space maintenance, if you will.”

2) Head linesmen and side judges — the officials who set up on opposite ends of the line of scrimmage — will swap sides of the field after halftime. Until now, they stayed on the same side of the field the entire game. Which means each had the same head coach complaining the entire game.

The benefits? “So that one coach’s not in someone’s ear for 60 minutes,” Anderson said. “And the coach will have somebody new to talk to.”

Anderson’s office tracks all kinds of penalties and trends. “We track the fouls and tendencies of officials, trying to determine is there an unnatural pattern with a guy that’s always got calls on the other team as opposed to always making calls on his sideline?” Anderson said.

“If it’s always the same person, eating on you, eating on you, does it have an effect? The answer for a lot of people is yes. We start seeing a trend, drilling down, is it an aberration? We’ve addressed it with officials. But that’s just not acceptable.”

Anderson told his officials he doesn’t care if a coach disagrees with their call. That’s fine. But flagrant, theatrical displeasure is what needs to be curtailed.

“I would be tickled to death if we can just get the ones that are obvious,” Anderson said. “It’s kind of like the definition of pornography. You kind of know it when you see it. We’ve got to get this under control. We don’t want you to quit what you’re doing to look around. When it presents itself to you, you’ll know it.”

And Anderson gives the coaches this much: they are committed. Right or wrong, a coach believes in what he’s doing, whether it’s running a spread offense or straightening out a back judge.

Anderson wants his officials to be the same. Committed.

“It’s not a trick, but in terms of communication, the most effective thing you can do, is when you talk to anybody ...look him right in the eye,” Anderson said. “Tell him what you were thinking. Look him right in the eye. Too many times when we’re communicating, we fail to present a picture of confidence with our own actions.

“If you don’t make eye contact with someone, the signal you send is, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The coach is going to have a position on every play. If you can’t defend it, you don’t deserve to be out there.”

Look the coach right in the eye, walk him back to the sideline if necessary and take no guff. Don’t let football turn into basketball.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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