Big 12 coaches endorse no-comment policy after Mangino outburst


Monday, November 15th 2004, 2:43 pm
By: News On 6


DENVER (AP) _ Most of the coaches in the Big 12 Conference can empathize with Mark Mangino after the Kansas coach said officiating cost the Jayhawks a victory against Texas over the weekend.

After all, just about every coach has had complaints bout officiating.

But while they don't blame Mangino for venting about what he thought was a blown call, most agree with the conference policy that prohibits coaches from criticizing officials.

``I think we all have to understand we're in this together,'' Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said. ``It's not going to be a perfect situation and sometimes it can be very frustrating when you feel a call could have gone different than it did. But I really think our conference has a cooperative effort to do the best they can.''

After Kansas' last-second, 27-23 loss to Texas on Saturday, Mangino said the officials deliberately tried to the influence the game, implying it would work out better for the BCS if the Longhorns won.

The coach took issue with a pass interference call against Charles Gordon that forced the Jayhawks to punt with 2 minutes left. Texas got the ball back and drove for the winning score, saving its chances for a BCS bowl bid and a potential $12 million to $14 million windfall for the conference.

Mangino backed off his comments the day after the game and reiterated his position on Monday.

``I feel like if you make a mistake, you have be man enough to get it corrected, and I felt like that's what I needed to do,'' Mangino said. ``I'm not going to make any excuse. It was inexcusable.''

Colorado coach Gary Barnett said he believes coaches should treat the officials just like they would their players.

``When you coach your team and you lose a game and somebody makes a bonehead play, the first thing you do is you don't point fingers. Guys make mistakes and there are plenty of plays during a game that could make a difference,'' Barnett said. ``I think we should do it the same way (with the officials).''

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BAD TREATMENT: Nebraska coach Bill Callahan was overheard yelling profanity after the Cornhuskers' 30-3 loss to Oklahoma last weekend, but it had nothing to do with the Sooners trying to pour it on in the closing seconds with the game out of reach.

Callahan was angry because of incidents before the game and during the closing seconds.

The first came in the end zone while Nebraska was warming up before the game, when offensive Darren DeLone collided with a member of a Sooner spirit team called Ruf/Nek. Witnesses told The Oklahoman said DeLone head-butted Adam Merritt, knocking out several teeth and leaving him facial lacerations.

Callahan regretted that someone was hurt and wasn't sure if charges would be filed against DeLone, but said the incident could have been prevented had the spirit team been kept further away from the field. He also took exception to the group shooting off guns where his team was warming up, filling that end of the stadium with smoke.

``They've been doing it for 40-some years, so who am I to say something about a tradition, but when people get injured like that it's time to take a real look at your pre-game management,'' Callahan said. ``I just don't think it's appropriate to have all these young men with these guns being fired off in the midst of a pre-game warmup as they're getting ready for a college competition.''

Callahan also took exception to Oklahoma's fans throwing oranges on the field to show their support of the Sooners' chance of getting to the Orange Bowl.

``I get emotional and I probably could have used a better choice of words, but I am distressed when people are shooting off guns and throwing fruit at our players,'' Callahan said. ``I have a hard time with that. It's a part of game, I guess. I'm trying to learn this the best I can, but I just think it's out of control.''

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DOUBLE TROUBLE: With the emergence of freshman Adrian Peterson and the recent hot streak by Jason White, Oklahoma is faced with the unique situation of having two players in the running to win the Heisman Trophy.

Conventional wisdom says teammates vying for the same award would take votes away from each other, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops doesn't agree.

``I don't believe the fact that one hurts the other,'' Stoops said. ``There's that theory that it separates votes, but people don't vote for Oklahoma, they vote for one person. I don't know that they have to take away from each other''

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BAYLOR'S CONFIDENCE: Baylor is 3-7 and has won just one Big 12 game headed into Saturday's season finale against Oklahoma. It's certainly been another difficult season for the Bears, but they may have turned the corner in terms of confidence.

Baylor coach Guy Morriss said the turning point was last year's game against Oklahoma, when the Bears showed the first signs of not being overwhelmed mentally by a superior opponent.

``I think we've overcome a lot of that,'' Morriss said. ``Our kids play hard, we don't play smart all the time and sometimes we just get out-manned, but I don't sense that we've been in awe of anybody. I think it's a problem that has been had to be dealt with in the past, but as far as I'm concerned we don't have that problem anymore.''