Dooley on penalizing excess: ‘No question it’s a good rule’

It's not as if it hadn't happened before. Note headline on Bisher column.

It's not as if it hadn't happened before. Note the headline on Furman Bisher's column.

When Vince Dooley says he feels your pain, he really feels your pain. He didn’t just sit in Sanford Stadium — by the way, isn’t it high time the thing became Sanford-Dooley Stadium? — and watch Georgia lose to LSU in excruciating fashion Saturday; he sat there knowing a rule he championed helped make it so.

Then Georgia’s athletics director, Vincent J. Dooley was chairman of the NCAA rules committee when it moved in 1995 to make “excessive celebration” a 15-yard penalty. Let the record reflect that Mr. Dooley wasn’t a disinterested party: He lobbied for the rule and defends it to this day. Yes, even after Saturday.

“Sportsmanship had gotten so bad [in the '90s] that we spent one whole year without passing a rule [pertaining to anything else],” Dooley said Monday. “There’s no question it’s a good rule. Guys were watching [NFL players] on Sunday, and the whole thing had gotten choreographed. And everybody was trying to one-up somebody. The whole thing was turning into a circus.”

Brief review: Georgia’s A.J. Green made an outrageous touchdown catch with 1:09 remaining Saturday to give Georgia a 13-12 lead over the nation’s No. 4 team. In his glee, Green was determined by officials to have made a gesture to call attention to himself, which isn’t allowed. (Celebrating with one’s teammates is permitted.)

The resulting 15-yard penalty forced Georgia to kick off from its 15, and LSU’s Trindon Holliday returned the kickoff 40 yards. Coupled with a five-yard penalty on the Bulldogs for illegal procedure — they were misaligned on the kickoff — LSU took possession at the Georgia 38. Two plays later, Charles Scott broke three tackles to put LSU ahead, whereupon Scott was penalized for excessive celebration.

Dooley hasn’t seen the tape of the final minutes. Watching it live, he saw Green do nothing untoward. “I’ve heard CBS [which aired the game] didn’t have anything, either,” he said. “I’ve also heard that WSB had a better shot of it.”

After reviewing the CBS tape, SEC director of officiating Rogers Redding said Monday: “We concluded the video did not support the call.”

Speaking before Redding’s admission, Dooley said: “It was unfortunate. All these rules are judgment calls, and there needs to be constant vigilance to try to get consistency between the conferences. Holding is a classic example, and so is pass interference. But the rules are good … Occasionally there comes a case where there’s controversy over a rule, but what are you going to do, throw out the rule? Are you going to say, ‘OK, we’ll just let everybody hold.’ ”

There was a third penalty for excessive celebration in the game: Georgia tight end Orson Charles waved his hand after a catch. Said Dooley, who had seen the tape of that play: “That was absolutely the right call. He broke away [from his teammates] and did what he did … You can have celebration, but it has to be a team celebration.”

Let the record also reflect that Mr. Dooley has felt the sting himself. On Labor Day night in 1985, Terrie Webster blocked an Alabama punt and Calvin Ruff recovered it for the go-ahead touchdown with 50 seconds to play at Sanford Stadium. Vince Dooley’s team was penalized 15 yards for spilling onto the field — there was no such parlance as “excessive celebration” then — and had to kick off from its 25. (Kickoffs were normally from the 40.)

Alabama took possession at its 29. Mike Shula moved the Tide 71 yards to the winning touchdown, completing four passes  in 35 seconds.

Dooley: “It made me mad. Not because we were penalized; because I didn’t keep our guys off the field. And then Shula defied the odds. And [a similar penalty] almost cost us against Florida [in 1980] after Lindsay Scott scored. But we held on.”

Vince’s verdict on the attempt to curtail celebration: “It’s good for college football, even though there were times when it hurt me …  But I can defend it when people say, ‘It’s a stupid rule.’ “

319 comments Add your comment

shanahan

October 5th, 2009
1:56 pm

im the first!!!

NORRIS

October 5th, 2009
2:00 pm

I think that rules are good for obvious violations but when you take away the emotional aspect of the game it is wrong. You cant penalize a guy for making an unexpected catch to what should have been the win. The guys were happy but didnt nothing insulting to the other team. The officials only wanted to make sure LSU still had a chance to win this thing. If you listened to the broadcasters they gave you the answer. They said, “now it is set, the matchup between the undefeated tigers and the undefeated gators”. This is what they wanted all along.

Hedgepruner

October 5th, 2009
2:00 pm

There you go whinning dawgie fans your Hall of Shame Coach Dooley was responsible for this rule that came back to bite you on your arses…
45-42 HAHA

San Francisco Dawg

October 5th, 2009
2:00 pm

Just liked we campaigned in 1974…”DUMP DOOLEY”!!!!

BurbankDawg

October 5th, 2009
2:03 pm

The rule itself makes sense. Without it, we’d have players pulling markers, cell phones, even sombreros out trying to one-up each other after every sack, TD, and first down made.

But A.J. Green did not break that rule. The officials knew it, so they tried to ‘make it right’ by calling one on LSU.

I think the officials are still mad at CMR for the Florida endzone shuffle.

Pooh Pooh Platter

October 5th, 2009
2:03 pm

I think the refs had their money on LSU obviously.

Mark Bradley

October 5th, 2009
2:04 pm

Congratulations, Shanahan. But I have to ask: Is your first name Mike?

Herschel Talker

October 5th, 2009
2:05 pm

MARK RICHT = BOOBY COX

Daniel

October 5th, 2009
2:05 pm

Interesting take from Tim Brando via Georgia Sports Blog:

http://georgiasports.blogspot.com/2009/10/excessive-celebration-brandos-rant.html

He starts talking about it at the 4:45 mark.

Octavious Landoquin

October 5th, 2009
2:07 pm

It’s turned racist as these are all ghetto-derived celebration tactics. Blacks are very status conscious and culturally LOUD. It’s out of control and Dooley doesn’t have the integrity to admit it or go against his initial beliefs.

UGA continues...

October 5th, 2009
2:07 pm

…to be one of the most poorly coached teams in the country, in all facets of the game of football – and that is all I can say about the game against LSU!

Penn Wagers

October 5th, 2009
2:08 pm

I have to say that the two celebration calls against UGA were right on. I just have issues with the one against LSU.

Michael Scharff

October 5th, 2009
2:10 pm

I saw Coach Dooley at the Bookstore on Saturday. While he was signing my copy of his beautiful new book, he said that we needed to play a complete game, and we were certainly overdue for one. Well, this one wasn’t it. Yes, the celebration call on AJ hurt, but you can “what if” all day long. Our defense “hunkered down” for 58 and a half minutes, then had a critical breakdown when we needed one more stop. Even so, after the LSU score and the kickoff, we had right at about the same amount of time left on the clock as it took Greenie to complete the Tennessee series finishing with the Hobnail Boot, and, unfortunately, Joe C. and our offense couldn’t get it done.

WildBill

October 5th, 2009
2:10 pm

I thoroughly APPROVE of the rule. Herschel understood it, and abided by it. Why can’t the current crop of atheletes do the same. Play ball on the field and leave the antics somewhere else.

FalconUGAFan

October 5th, 2009
2:12 pm

I completely AGREE!!!! It should be Sanford-Dooley Stadium. :)

BTW Hedgepruner, please show a little respect when speaking of a coaching legend. Former Tech coaches deserve it, so should ours.

jjf

October 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

I was at that game as well as Sat. Coach Dooley passed a rule with good intent but too subjective. It needs to be more clearly defined; dancing spiking the ball, taunting etc. What happened Sat. was niether. Make the rule clearly defined or get rid of it. And by the way, if we got penelized in ‘85 but the rule was not passed til ‘95 why did we need a new rule.

Phil

October 5th, 2009
2:13 pm

Didn’t we have to kick off from our own 15 and not the 30?? That flag hurt big time.

beanuga

October 5th, 2009
2:14 pm

Just another typical UGA game. Nothing has changed. The bottom line is that the game was not over so why celebrate. Finish the drill and then celebrate.

Tech Fan!!

October 5th, 2009
2:15 pm

As long as a player is not pulling some object or prop out to celebrate let the kids show some emotion. O.Charles suggesting to “keep feeding me” was NICE!! no big deal, any old fart who thinks there is something wrong with that barely has a pulse.They practice hard and study all week. You throw them in front of thousands of screaming fan’s and tell them to act The Virgin Mary after a score really?

Andy

October 5th, 2009
2:15 pm

I have to disagree with Dooley. If it were a “good rule,” then there would not be such a hard time enforcing it fairly. It needs to be redrafted so that players and coaches can know specifically what is going to be called and what will not. This is a basic tenet of rule drafting. How can you penalize someone for calling attention to himself after making a huge, potentially game-winning catch? The attention was already on him–he didn’t need to do anything to call attention to himself. What they need to do is distinguish between spontaneous, in the moment, excited gestures and the choreographed, planned nonsense they sometimes do in the NFL. What about last year’s game against Arizona St. when Knowshon did that flip into the endzone and raised his arms like a gymnast. Wasn’t that calling attention to himself? How do you not call attention to yourself? Anything you do could call attention to yourself, or be interpreted as doing so. The explanation the refs gave is utterly absurd. That rule needs to be redrafted with much more specificity.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 5th, 2009
2:15 pm

What about defensive linemen and linebackers who shake their heads, and beat their chests after every tackle? What about them, huh?

78 DAWG

October 5th, 2009
2:16 pm

You can’t expect a defense or kickoff team to stop em after a terrible penalty like that. The refs stole the game for LSU. Is there a way to see if the refs bet on the game? We are really 5-0 this year.

shanahan

October 5th, 2009
2:16 pm

hahaha no it is not mike, but i do get that alot

snapshot

October 5th, 2009
2:16 pm

All Georgie had to do was stop LSU from scoring.

fatdawg

October 5th, 2009
2:16 pm

Hey Bradley

Why don’t you get off our butts and go tickle that bunch down on North Ave a while? You sir are the biggest jerk i’ve ever seen here. You constantly barade us while putting Georgia Tech on a pedastal. Udderly ridicilious.

Shananeeeeeee Fananeeeeeeee

October 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

There’s a classy man. Mr. Dooley doesn’t make excuses for the loss, he takes it like a man. Some of these guys should learn to chill out a little big. Celebrate the touchdown with grace, then go crazy after the game which was 1:09 left I believe. Also I have to comment to Pooh Pooh Platter, if the refs had their money on LSU they were still golden if LSU scores or not, LSU was getting 3 points so they were pretty good the whole game.

GeoffDawg

October 5th, 2009
2:17 pm

I’d say Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium as hyphenated names are rarely popular. Other than in media outlets, who really refers to the airport as Hartsfield-Jackson?

Beachdawg

October 5th, 2009
2:20 pm

After reading Coach Dooley’s feeling and reading the Tony Barnhart blog, it seems to me that there must be a strong definition to excessive celebrating to, not only the teams, but the officials as well. Though, I’m not a Florida fan at all, why was there no excessive penalty called against KY for jumping up and down after racking Tebow, leaving him *#$%#$* on the field? (Or was there)?. What if he (Tebow) scores and does the Gator chop coming off the field???\ Is THAT excessive??? Or will the pressure of calling a game with HIM and the No1 team overwhelm any officials….especially now..after the fact.
In a team sport where probably no more that 4 or 5 athletes will be going to the next level off a 70 man roster…what the heck is wrong with jubilation. Most will NEVER have that athletic stage again.I DON’T like what Orson Charles did..but both Green’s and the LSU back’s penalties seemed rather cheap.
In the end..nobody died..the sun rose..and life resumed to normalcy, just with an additional bit of salt in Dawg fans wounds.

GeoffDawg

October 5th, 2009
2:20 pm

I guess you have Jordan-Hare as well but those Auburn folks are downright schizophrenic when it comes to their mascot(s) so what do you expect?

larrymunsonthe3rd

October 5th, 2009
2:21 pm

Wow Tim Brando was pissed!!!!!!!

Mark Bradley

October 5th, 2009
2:22 pm

I’m not a big fan of naming the field one thing and the stadium another. I know it’s Shields-Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium, but does anybody other than Bob Kesling ever call it that?

Excessive Pay

October 5th, 2009
2:22 pm

Would Dooley support penalizing Richt’s excessive salary given the way his coaching is panning out?

Mark Bradley

October 5th, 2009
2:22 pm

Oh, by the way: I like Bob Kesling a lot. Good man, good announcer.

DG

October 5th, 2009
2:23 pm

First of all, LSU would have scored on that run if he was 30 yards back…he took it to the house UGA fans and nobody was going to get him. Secondly, you had the same amount of time at the end of the game when LSU scored leaving enough time on the clock with their penalty, but you couldn’t get it done. Personally, I think UGA and LSU will each lose 3 more games and realize this meant nothing to either team’s season. Both teams are not very good. BTW, hate to break it to UGA fans, but they beat a terrible ASU team which lost again, at home, to Oregon State by a lot….sorry, ASU didn’t have a good defense, UGA just isn’t that good….take a look.

richtfan

October 5th, 2009
2:24 pm

i like vince, but he is absolutely out to lunch on this one. go back to selling vinyl patio rooms and windows.

Topp Dogg

October 5th, 2009
2:24 pm

How many times has this rule been violated by Tim Tebow alone with no penalty, good question isnt it ?

Gator1

October 5th, 2009
2:25 pm

78 Dawg- You are really 5-0? Okay, you won the National Title last year too right? If the refs did bet on that game they were ahead as soon as LSU kicked the field goal to up 3-0. So they did not need any more scores after the Green touchdown. LSU was getting 3

Mark Bradley

October 5th, 2009
2:25 pm

The difference between the Alabama starting position post-celebration in 1985 and LSU’s 24-plus years later: The Alabama returner bobbled the kickoff. Trindon Holliday grabbed it and went.

William

October 5th, 2009
2:25 pm

Why does the game have to be penalized? Why not penalize the college? They get all the money. If a coach gets fined for the teams behavior there will be more coaching. I understand Dooley and the rest do not want to take on the same responsibility as they are putting on the players. It is a chicken S&*t rule today and it will be one tomorrow. Also, point your fingers at the pros for doing it. If it is not good sportmanship at college level then it is not good sportmanship at any level. It is the elite pushing the rules of behavior on everyone else.

I know we should go to flag football!! We can not keep this type of game because of too many educators involved.

I think Dooley is wrong! He is just as guilty as the ref who called the play. He should not be associated with football anymore for such downplay of the game.

rvadawg

October 5th, 2009
2:26 pm

what does tim tebow do every time he makes a play and wants to get the crowd pumped up? and how is it different from what orson charles did?

Tebow

October 5th, 2009
2:26 pm

Topp Dogg- still bitter that I went to Florida instead of Georgia?

What?

October 5th, 2009
2:26 pm

Fortt, linebacker who had UGA and Penn St. Said he did not pick UGA b/c his two people in charge left him a couple of times??? What knuckelhead put these to morons in charge of the number 2 linebacker in country only to leave him hanging? Nice job guys, nice job!!

GeoffDawg

October 5th, 2009
2:27 pm

DG – do you really think they would’ve called a running play 30 yards farther back with that much time left on the clock? When you’re already in field goal range, it makes the play book a lot more versatile.

Ginger

October 5th, 2009
2:27 pm

Disagree…..Green did not do excessive celebration and the trouble with the rule is the subjectivness that the refs used……….sorry Coach D….your rule needs work…..celebrating should be fine…just not taunting.

misterwax

October 5th, 2009
2:28 pm

If you can’t coach your players to just hand the ball to the official and run back to your teammates on the sidelines….then you either need a more disciplined coach or you need to recruit more disciplined young men and not a bunch of amped-up ghetto savages who pay no never-mind to non one no how….simple as that. Either one or both……but act like you’ve been there before.

dawgster

October 5th, 2009
2:29 pm

Yea you are right, one of the worst coached teams in the country, just look at our record the last 8 years under Coach Richt, it has been awful, you have to blame the coaches for that record, i mean no National Championship, last one in 1980…I know this discussion was about Coach Dooley’s thoughts on the celebration penalties and i do disagree with him for the most part on these, but when you make comments about our Coaching Staff that really doesn’t have alot of merit, well i felt like i needed to respond…I do think we need to improve in all phases of our game and especially on special teams and defense, but we will see how the year plays out and hope the correct decisions for our program will be made….

Mark Bradley

October 5th, 2009
2:29 pm

I believe Tim Tebow did get penalized for taunting in the BCS title game, did he not?

Hollywould

October 5th, 2009
2:30 pm

Auburn fan here. That was a bs call. How about the one on Charles earlier? BS too. You have kids who have been practicing all year, dream about making big plays and then get penalized for it. Same thing in baseball when an umpire feels in his mind a pitcher threw at someone. When did they become GOD? I agree on the over the top stuff but all 3 calls in that game were stupid. Still,
you have to cover kick-offs and wrap up on tackles. That was the end result.

Paul Bryant

October 5th, 2009
2:30 pm

Dooley’s right. When you score a touchdown you should hand the ball to the referee and go back to your bench or huddle up with your team unless you are Tim Tebow who jumps up and down waves his arms over his head every time he throws or runs the ball (with the exception of the last play he ran at FU)

GeoffDawg

October 5th, 2009
2:30 pm

I could be wrong but I don’t think we recruited Tebow as we had a commitment from some guy named Matthew Stafford who was a much better fit for Georgia’s pro-style offense.