Dennis Hennigan, the ACC’s Coordinator of Football officiating, offered some clarification regarding the #Chainghazi rules controversy that is sweeping Central New York and Northern Kentucky Wednesday afternoon.
“Assuming that the offense does not substitute, the officials will allow the offense to snap the ball when the officials are in position, and when the ‘box,’ i.e., the down indicator, is set,” Hennigan said in an email to Syracuse.com. “The officials do not wait for the chains to get set. Both the box and the chains move upon the direction of the officials.”
Hennigan’s explanation contradicts Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino’s position on the subject, who said just hours prior on the ACC Coaches Teleconference that he recently spoke with an ACC official who said the football cannot be snapped until after the chains are set.
“The chains have to be set. You’ve got to let the chains get down and be set before they can snap the ball again, and there were a couple times in that game where they didn’t get set,” Petrino said. “And we have talked to the conference office and that’s part of the officials’ responsibility to make sure the chains are set before they let the ball be snapped.”
Petrino previously raised the question regarding the legality of Syracuse’s offense on Tuesday, claiming the Orange shouldn’t be allowed to snap the ball if the chains aren’t set.
“We watched their spring game and Colgate. They've gotten better. They're playing better,” Petrino said. “That's one of the things they brag about is how fast they go. We've got to see if all that's legal because there are a few times they're snapping the ball, and the down markers haven't even been moved yet. So we do need to check into that and see how that works.”
At first glance, Hennigan’s definition seems to be more on par with Babers’ interpretation of the rule, who earlier said on the teleconference that he believed only the down box had to be in position prior to an offense being allowed to snap the ball.
“Well, I always was under the impression that the (down) box was the most important thing,” Babers said. “If the box was set, then the chains could come later. But I’m sure the officials will straighten it out and tell us how they do it.”
Now, an official has done just that. Babers and Syracuse: 1; Louisville and Petrino: 0. If only we could count on this to be indicative of the score in SU’s tough matchup with the Cardinals this Friday...