Coaches’ reactions to replays a mixed bag

Ben Goessling

It only took one weekend for the Big Ten’s new replay system to draw the ire of Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez.

The system, which is in use only during televised games in Big Ten stadiums, allows certain calls to be reviewed at the discretion of an official in the press box.

Only two plays – out of more than 1,100 – were reviewed during last weekend’s conference games, and both came during the first half of Wisconsin’s 34-6 victory over Central Florida.

The first, in which officials overturned a 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown by the Badgers’ Dontez Sanders, was called back after replay showed Sanders had a knee down when he recovered the fumble.

The second review came on the run that took running back Anthony Davis from the game. Officials ruled he stepped out of bounds at the Knights’ 41 instead of the 28. The call was later corrected to show Davis stepped out of bounds at the 29.

Alvarez said last Saturday he didn’t think the game “should be stopped for five minutes” just to correct the spot of the ball.

Five plays after Davis’ run, the Badgers’ John Stocco hit Jonathan Orr for a touchdown. Replays suggested Orr might have been out of bounds when he caught the ball, but the play was not reviewed.

Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and Michigan’s Lloyd Carr were asked on Tuesday if they would prefer a system allowing coaches’ challenges. But each coach said he preferred the current system.

“That would slow the game down and make it too much like the NFL, which I’m not sure we should try to emulate,” Tressel said. “As coaches, we’d have to go to school right now as to which plays are reviewable.”

Davis sees eye specialist

Alvarez said Davis saw an eye specialist on Tuesday about the injury that knocked him out in the second quarter of the game.

Davis is scheduled to see another specialist today and is still questionable for the Badgers’ game Saturday against Nevada-Las Vegas.

Davis, who is second in the school’s history in career rushing behind all-time NCAA leader Ron Dayne, was hit after stepping out of bounds and came out of the game after hitting the turf in Camp Randall Stadium.

Alvarez said Davis’ injury wasn’t caused by the collision and might have been due to a rubber pellet from the stadium’s turf entering his eye.

Henne likely to start

Carr said freshman quarterback Chad Henne, who replaced an injured Matt Gutierrez in the Wolverines’ 43-10 win over Miami (Ohio) last Saturday, would likely start in Michigan’s game at Notre Dame this Saturday.

Gutierrez, who was limited to holding the ball for extra points because of a sore arm, threw lightly in the Wolverines’ practice Monday, but Carr said “there’s still some soreness there.”

Henne passed for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the emergency start and became the first freshman to start at quarterback for Michigan since 1975.