Arizona coach Rodriguez doesn’t expect team to suffer Wisconsin-like fate
Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez is aware of what happened Saturday night in Tempe.
He saw the Wisconsin Badgers be on the wrong side of a blown call by the referees, which helped Arizona State escape with a big 32-30 win.
The Pac-12 has since reprimanded the officials who were involved, but that does not change the fact that Wisconsin may have lost a game it should have had a chance to win.
Rodriguez, who has has seen the replays, understands why there was confusion on the game’s final play — especially from the officials — on whether or not Wisconsin QB Joel Stave actually knelt with the ball, which helped spawn the controversy.
“A lot of people are talking about that, and I can see why,” he said. “That’s a lesson I bet every coach in America, high school, college, pros, are talking about.
“Be defined when you do that and hand the ball to the official so there is no gray area at all.”
That, Rodriguez said, is what he coaches his team to do. Had Stave taken a knee and handed the ball to a ref, the Sun Devils would not have thought he fumbled and therefore would not have jumped on the ball. Wisconsin then would have then been able to spike the football before attempting the game-winning field goal.
“I think everybody centers the ball or has that play where you center the ball,” the second-year coach said of the same sequence. “We have a rule anyway, and sometimes we have to get on our guys, whether you’re on offense or defense, if you’ve got the ball in your hands when the play is over…you hand the ball to the official.
“We prefer that they hand it to the umpire so that way the ball gets spotted quicker.”
The coach added that’s something the team works on in practice, and does not expect it to ever be an issue for the Wildcats.