By Joe Scalzo
Instant replay hasn’t come fast enough for Youngstown State coach Eric Wolford.
The Missouri Valley reportedly will become the first FCS conference to implement replay this fall. It’s a system Wolford wishes had been in place throughout his tenure.
“I can think of a couple specific games,” he said. “South Dakota [three] years ago. Here at midfield.
“I wasn’t allowed to comment.”
Three years ago, YSU lost to the Jackrabbits 35-28 at Stambaugh Stadium. Midway through the third quarter, with YSU leading 28-21, Penguin receiver Josh Lee fumbled away a punt return at the YSU 47. Replays showed Lee’s knee was down.
The Penguins lost 35-28.
Wolford, whose previous two coaching stops were in the Big Ten [Illinois] and the SEC [South Carolina], has been critical of the officiating in the FCS level and said he hopes this will improve it.
“We like replay,” Wolford said. “I’m all for it. It’s a fast game. It’s beneficial to even the playing field and we need it.”
The Big Ten has used replay since 2004 and it expanded to all FBS conferences in 2005.
Brian Shawn, the TV play-by-play announcer for North Dakota State, reported last week that the Missouri Valley will bring replay to the FCS level for regular season games.
The FCS already uses replay for playoff games.
While it’s unlikely every FCS conference will use replay — some schools have neither the technology nor the resources to add it — it’s a natural progression for the MVFC, which has been ranked No. 1 the last few seasons and boasts the three-time defending national champions (North Dakota State).
“They have it at the I-A level and it would be nice if we got the same thing,” YSU junior defensive tackle Emmanuel Kromah said. “I’ve witnessed certain calls go out of our hands to the referees, so if we were able to replay the play and see what goes on, maybe it’ll go a different way.”
BACK TO THE OLD ball
After testing out a smaller football during the early part of spring practice, a Wilson GST, the Penguins are back to using last year’s ball, the Wilson 1001.
Some quarterbacks prefer the GST because it’s smaller, whereas kickers prefer the larger 1001.
Unlike the NFL, the NCAA does not have an official game ball and teams can use whichever ball they want, provided they meet NCAA standards. Each team brings its own balls and the officials switch out the balls depending on which team is on offense.