Thursday, December 27, 2007

Don't Blame Chris

(full disclosure: my son, and my tuition dollars, go to Arizona State University)

Please, please, please: cut Chris Jesse some slack.

He's the University of Texas football staffer who hopped off the sidelines to reach for a live ball coughed up by Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter during the Holiday Bowl game. Manifold replays showed the act. Questions linger as to whether Jesse actually touched the ball, although the referees ruled he did. That judgment overturned a turnover, giving the ball back to ASU and leading to the Sun Devils' only first-half touchdown.

My question: why did it take the ESPN staff so long to point out the obvious: UT should have been penalized whether Chris Jesse touched the ball or not, because somewhere close to half the coaching staff (including head coach Mack Brown) was on the field while the ball was in play?

It's halftime as I write this, and this play could well turn out to mean nothing at all. But it's already up on YouTube, and this young Longhorn staffer will no doubt be branded for years as the guy who cost his team a fumble recovery. Wrong-O, Bevo. Texas had already been warned for its sideline antics, and the guy who should take the heat for allowing a wild sideline charge onto the field is the man who gets paid the big bucks to run the program.

This one's on you, Mack Brown. You spend enough time working the refs every game. Step up and take the heat for the fact that your sideline doesn't know where the sideline ends and the field begins.

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