Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Dave Parry is entering his 19th and final season as Big Ten coordinator of officials, and he still shows up to work prepared. A pile of sheets detailing college football's 2008 rule changes accompanied Parry as he met with reporters Friday morning at Big Ten media days. In addition to discussing the officials' greater emphasis on player safety and sportsmanship this fall, Parry explained the new clock rules, the most dramatic of the changes.
College football will adopt a 40-second play clock that will wind at the end of the preceding play, rather than the old 25-second clock that started after the ball was marked ready for play. The 25-second clock still will be used in several instances, such as after a timeout or following a possession change. But for the most part, the clock in college football will operate like the NFL. The other key change involves out of bounds plays. The clock will start on the referee's signal rather than the snap, except for the last two minutes of each half.
I asked Parry if he was concerned about delay of game penalties, at least early in the season.
"I don't think so," he said. "Coaches know it. They've done it in their spring games. Really, when a guy goes down in bounds, you've got a lot of time, if you think about it. If he makes four yards, you put your hand up, second down, and you have 40 seconds to snap it. So there shouldn't be delay of games. There'll be some, of course, because of substitutions and confusions, but as far as keeping the pace of the game going, it'll be good and comfortable."
Former NFL official Bill Carollo will take over for Parry on Jan. 1, and Parry will become the first National Coordinator for College Football Officiating. He will be responsible for maintaining "uniformity and consistency" with officiating mechanics, rules interpretation and rule philosophies.
Parry also will coordinate officiating clinics around the country and help produce videos like the Points of Emphasis program that was played at the start of Big Ten media days. He'll work closely with officiating coordinators from various conferences, and admits college football officiating soon could be nationalized.
"We're doing a lot of things that are pushing that direction," Parry said. "[Friday afternoon], our clinic will include the Big East, the ACC, the Big Ten and the MAC. In Dallas, I think there's five conferences meeting. So you're seeing more and more coming together, doing things together. ... There's discussion to have East, West and Midwest officiating organizations. All the bowl games are neutral crews, as well as the replay officials. I wouldn't be surprised, for starters, that certain nonconference games, we'd say, 'Hey, neutral crew, neutral replay,' so we don't create a perception that somebody got some home cookin' in a big game."