Its Official: Replay calls done by the book

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 31, 2005

As I watched parts of the Georgia-Georgia Tech game Saturday night, I saw at least three plays reviewed in the first half. The TV crew were complaining the reviews were taking too long and were taking away the momentum of both teams.

That was a little strange since both of the announcers came from NFL backgrounds, which is where the review process began. Georgia was the visiting team as the game was played at Georgia Tech. That meant, according to the longtime custom, the officiating crew were assigned by the SEC as the visitors.

Because the game was at Georgia Tech, I assume the replay system and replay officials were assigned by the ACC. I am not completely familiar with the ACT replay procedure, but I do know it closely follows that of the SEC and that both follow general guidelines set by the NCAA.

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Generally penalty calls are not subject to review.

I do not think the teams involved in the game had any influence on the replay decisions. The first play I saw involved a close call on a fumble by the Tech quarterback. The on-field officials ruled that it was a fumble recovered by Georgia, and that call stood.

The second review involved a pass play by Georgia. There was an obvious pass interference by Georgia Tech, but it was also obvious the pass had been tipped before the interference took place. The replay clearly showed the ball being tipped, and the interference call was ignored after the play was ruled incomplete.

A few weeks ago I got word of the June 2005 death of Armand Kitto of Houma, La. Armand was an officiating colleague of mine for most of my SEC officiating career, though he actually started his a year or two before I started in 1967.

Kitto and I officiated many SEC freshman games and non-conference varsity games together before moving up to SEC varsity game schedules. We also handled many LSU scrimmages, though he could not officiate LSU varsity games as he had played at LSU as a 170-pound defensive end. His entire officiating career Armand looked like he could still play.

One of the funny incidents I recall in officiating involved Kitto. He and I were assigned to officiate Southern&8217;s game at Louisiana Tech during Terry Bradshaw&8217;s senior season. Armand was working at line judge, which meant he had some down-field responsibilities on forward pass plays.

On one play the receiver on Kitto&8217;s side went down about 10 yards and cut for the sideline. Bradshaw fired (and I do mean fired) the ball to the spot where the receiver was headed, but the only problem was that Kitto was in that spot.

The ball hit Kitto in the feet, and he was so upset at himself that he kicked his hat half way across the field and almost threw a pass interference flag against himself. His antics were so funny that almost no one booed.

And that&8217;s official.

Al Graning is a former SEC official and former Natchez resident. Reach him at