2008 clock changes shortened game

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- There was a bit of concern when two new clock changes were implemented last season, but after further review, they shortened the game without negative results.

Last year the play clock was changed to 40 seconds. The moment a play ended, the official put his hand up, 40 seconds went on the clock and the offense could snap it. In the past, the referee designated when it was ready for play and there was a 25 second clock. There were different paces. The change eliminated that. The teams determined the pace, but made it a consistent play clock. It sped the game up because teams weren't waiting on officials.

The second change made last year was to the clock when the ball went out of bounds. In years past, the clock didn't start until the next snap. Now, when the offical inbounds the ball and puts it on the hashmark, the clock starts immediately (other than the last two minutes). It eliminated more dead time. The fear from the coaches, though, was that it would eliminate plays, too. ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads said the games were shortened by an average of 12 minutes and only lost an average of nine offensive plays. That's about one play per team per quarter.

"It didn't impact the loss of plays, it did speed the game up so I think it did what we wanted," Rhoads said. "It didn't alter what the game looked like but it sure made it quicker, and that was the goal."