Coaches agree refs don’t deserve flak

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:15 a.m. CDT, Saturday, June 28, 2008

Whenever an official makes a questionable call, they are certain to hear about the mistake from fans.

The Big 12 Conference has a policy to ensure its coaches also do not criticize the officials. Instead, coaches are encouraged to send letters to the conference detailing concerns with officiating and the conference looks into the concerns and attempts to correct mistakes.

Following Kansas’ 27-23 loss to No. 6 Texas, though, Jayhawks’ coach Mark Mangino broke that rule and argued about an offensive pass interference call against Charles Gordon in the fourth quarter.

He apologized for those comments Sunday and again on Monday during the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference.

“I felt like it was the proper thing to do to correct something I didn’t believe in,” Mangino said. “I don’t believe what I said is true.

“I’m not going to make any excuses, we’ve built our program on no excuses and it was inexcusable.”

After the game, Mangino said the Big 12’s desire to see the Longhorns to earn a BCS spot influenced the penalty. Texas was ranked fifth in Monday’s BCS standings.

“You know what this is all about, don’t you?” Mangino said following the game. “It’s called BCS. That’s what made a difference today. That’s what made the difference on that call in front of their bench, dollar signs.”

Although Mangino said he regretted his comments, the other Big 12 coaches said they understand his frustration, but they support the conference’s policy against commenting on the officials.

This limit on public criticism leads to better officiating, Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said.

“It’s a very difficult position to be in, in an official’s hat in a packed stadium,” Miles said. “That’s a hard position to be in … I believe they are doing the best job they can and I want them to stand in there in difficult situations and make tough calls.”

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said he supports the Big 12’s policy, though at times, he said every coach wants to vent frustrations about blown calls. He said his personal policy is to discuss his concerns with the officials on the field.

He said part of the reason he tries to communicate frustrations through the proper channels comes from recognizing the mistakes that coaches and players make.

“There are probably no officials who make more mistakes than I do,” he said.

Dennis Franchione of Texas A&M agreed with Snyder that officials are not the only people on the field who make mistakes. He said questionable calls seem larger with so many close games this season.

“Sometimes they even admit, ‘They blew the call, coach,’” Franchione said. “But that happens; I’ve blown calls as well.s

“There are a lot of close calls this year and with so many tight games, those calls get magnified.”

Franchione said he sends in his list of concerns every week and feels the conference is doing a good job of working with the coaches’ concerns.

BCS UNCERTAINTY: Oklahoma held off Auburn for No. 2 in the BCS with a 30-3 win against Nebraska. Although Oklahoma keeps winning, Auburn tied the Sooners in the Associated Press poll, which is part of the BCS formula.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said the BCS system creates questions about what is necessary to get to the title game.

“The system the way it is, it is hard to know what you have to do,” Stoops said. “You just have to do what we can and hope it works out.”

Stoops said he realizes many voters look at the late season performances, though he prefers a look at the whole season’s performance.

“(I would want voters to look at) talent and ability on the field and execution,” he said. “All those factor in.

“The whole season, the body of work should factor in. But, there is a feeling of what have you done for me lately.”

HONOR ROLL: Oklahoma’s dominating performance against the Cornhuskers earned two Sooners conference awards.

Quarterback Jason White received his second consecutive Offensive Player of the Week award and linebacker Gayron Allen was named the Defensive Player of the Week.

White threw three touchdown passes, the fifth straight game he has thrown for at least three scores. He also had 383 yards and broke his own school record with 18 consecutive completions.

Allen led the Sooners’ defense with eight tackles and an interception, which set up a touchdown for Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State’s Prentiss Elliott earned the Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown against Baylor.

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