Bob Stoops did what we all were doing Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Turning our head to the top of the end zone after every other play. Looking for a big video screen that wasn’t there.
“Yeah. I looked for it everytime something happened,” Stoops said. “Who missed what. Kept looking up there to no avail.”
Notre Dame is the ultimate throwback place. The stadium is old school. So is the atmosphere.
It’s a fabulous experience. A wonderful place to go see a ballgame.
But it’s not anything most of us can go back to.
If you’ve never had a cell phone, or a garage door opener or air conditioning, you don’t think twice about life without them. But once you’ve had them, it’s near-impossible to go back.
The stadium amenities that we are used to come at a cost. The constant avalanche of advertising at games is a bane to many fans. The band, beloved by many at most schools, becomes almost an auxiliary organization.
But that’s collateral damage. We’ll accept that in Norman and Stillwater and Austin and Lubbock and Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge and Columbus and everywhere except maybe South Bend, where time does stand still.
Let me give you an example. In the fourth quarter Saturday in South Bend, OU tailback Brennan Clay went over the middle and tried to catch a pass. Notre Dame linebacker Ben Councell popped Clay, and officials threw a yellow flag immediately for targeting.
In the pressbox, we saw the NBC replay and knew immediately it was a good call. Head-to-head. Councell was ejected from the game and would be ineligible for the first half of Notre Dame’s next game, Saturday against ArizonaState.
But in Notre Dame Stadium, the fans booed the call and never got to see the replay.
Stoops said his coaches in the pressbox had access to television replay and he assumes Notre Dame coaches did, too, so they were able to talk through some issues.
Stoops’ comments were fascinating, because they show how even coaches rely on immediate replay. They know what they saw, but they need detail. They need to find slivers of answers why something didn’t work.
Coaches are like the rest of us. They’ve come to rely on technology, and there’s no going back.