A BAD CALL
The new rule that requires referees to announce the number of a player who has committed a penalty is not only unnecessary but also unfair, especially to offensive linemen, who never get attention for doing things right. "I think it's ridiculous," says Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz (below). "I don't think our players need that kind of recognition." Many coaches like the rule because they want to know immediately who was responsible for a penalty, but an official could go to the sideline and give them that information, rather than broadcasting it over the P.A. system.
It's not just the players who are open to possible embarrassment. On North Carolina State's first penalty of the season, an official announced that number 81 had committed the infraction. That number, last worn by former Wolfpack star Torry Holt, was retired in 1999. The referee, Jim Knight, probably made all his other player identifications correctly. Isn't it a shame he had to be singled out for that one?
Nebraska's first-year coach Bill Callahan has brought in the West Coast offense to the traditionally ground-oriented program with uneven results, including a 21--17 loss to Southern Mississippi in which sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey (below, with Callahan) threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Dailey threw seven picks in the Huskers' first eight quarters, raising questions about his ability to run the offense. He quieted some of the doubters with a better performance in Saturday's 24--17 win at Pittsburgh, in which he threw only one interception.
Blue-chip high school quarterback Harrison Beck, who appears to be a better fit for the new system, has verbally committed for 2005. Callahan may have to wait at least until then for his offense to take flight.
BYU's decision to bypass Norm Chow (below) for its head coaching job four years ago was a blunder, but the Cougars never had to confront the mistake directly until last Saturday, when Chow returned to Provo as USC's offensive coordinator and orchestrated a 42--10 rout. Chow spent 27 years on the Cougars' staff, but when LaVell Edwards retired the school looked elsewhere for a replacement. Chow left in 2000 for N.C. State, where he contributed to the development of quarterback Philip Rivers, before heading to USC. All Chow has done for the Trojans is help QB Carson Palmer win the Heisman, transform Matt Leinart into the leading candidate for that award and help the team win a share of last season's national title. BYU, meanwhile, has had two straight losing seasons under Gary Crowton. Chow insisted he wasn't trying to make a point in trouncing the Cougars. His offense, however, made 42 of them.
TOM SCHRADER/AP (FERENTZ)
SEAN BRADY/WIREIMAGE.COM (NEBRASKA)
KIRBY LEE/WIREIMAGE.COM (CHOW)