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July 30, 2013

Big 12 coaches divided on impact of additional official

NORMAN —

The Big 12 Conference’s full embrace of the no-huddle, uptempo offense showed in the offseason. The league has decided to add an eighth member to the officiating crews this season. His main purpose is to spot the ball.

However, at last week’s Big 12 Football Media Days, some coaches expressed their belief that an eighth official might help to make the game more even-handed.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy offered his own viewpoint.

“They added an official years ago because of more forward passes, I believe. They had to have an official to where they could see down the field more because people start throwing more passes,” Gundy said. “Well, now a number of teams are uptempo. And this allows the officials to get the ball set where an offense can play and a defense can play, and they can still officiate the game.

“What that does, it allows one person to get the ball and get it set and get out of the way instead of a person trying to do that and also look at what he’s supposed to be looking at to officiate the game.”

The Cowboys play at an offensive pace as fast as any team in college football. It’s natural that Gundy would applaud an opportunity to go even faster.

However, some conference coaches see adding another official as a way to help the defenses adjust to the blinding pace.

It takes a lot more than 11 players to utilize an uptempo offense. There are frequent substitutions throughout drives. It’s mostly receivers and running backs sprinting on and off the field after plays.

But any offensive substitution is supposed to give the defense an opportunity to do the same. The eighth official is also there to hold up play so defenses are given the opportunity to substitute.

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