Slow down! Refs want to hit pause on up-tempo play

Slow down! Refs want to hit pause on up-tempo play

OFFICIALS: Arkansas State interim head coach John Thompson, left, argues a call with officials in the first quarter of the GoDaddy Bowl NCAA college football game against Ball State, Sunday, Jan. 5, in Mobile, Ala. Photo: Associated Press/G.M. Andrews

JOHN MARSHALL, AP College Football Writer

PHOENIX (AP) — The quarterback throws toward the sideline, where a receiver hauls the pass in, gets two feet down and flips the ball to the official.

What follows is a chaotic dance between an up-tempo offense and the defense trying to stop it.

Offensive players stream off the field, crossing paths with their replacements. The defense makes substitutions, players scramble to get into position.

Caught in the middle are the officials, who have to find a balance between spotting the ball quickly for the offense and allowing the defense time to set up — something that’s increasingly been a problem since fast-paced offenses have cropped up more frequently in college football.

Now, the officials are taking the pace back.

Formalizing ideas they’ve discussed among themselves over the past few seasons, the officials have added pace-of-play procedures in the football officiating mechanics manual.

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