Stoops 'incredibly disappointed' with officials' calls

Updated: September 19, 2006, 9:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Sunday he was "incredibly disappointed" after reviewing videotapes of a disputed onside kick and pass-interference penalty from the Sooners' last-minute loss to Oregon.

After the Pac-10 suspended the officiating crew for one game because of their errors on those calls on Monday, Stoops wasn't much happier.

Bellotti calls Stoops
A phone call from Oregon coach Mike Bellotti was nice, but it did absolutely nothing to soothe Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops over an incorrect officials' ruling that likely cost his team a victory over the Ducks.

"He just apologized and said that it's unfortunate that the two of us have got to be in the middle of it," Stoops said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "I said, 'Well, you didn't do anything wrong but play hard, and that's the same thing we were trying to do.'"

Stoops still was speaking out after Saturday night's 34-33 loss in Eugene, Ore., a game in which a blown call on an onside kick led to Oregon's winning touchdown in the final minute.

Bellotti told Stoops when officials determine the outcome it's not good for either team.

"And I can understand their frustration," Bellotti said.

Stoops said he was addressing the issue "for the last time" so his 17th-ranked Sooners (2-1) could get ready to play Middle Tennessee.

"I've said all this in this way because I feel the right to stand up for my football players," he said. "I'm not sitting up here, me babying or whining about it."

Sooners quarterback Paul Thompson said the team still feels "like we got a win that was taken from us."

"You're glad that they understand what they did, and what they did was wrong, but at the same time, it really doesn't affect much. That was a big mistake, and you can't really do much to change that," Thompson said. "We accept the apology, but it doesn't do much in the way of changing things."

-- The Associated Press

"At least they have reacted to it and tried. Truly there can be no amends to it and it can't be corrected," Stoops said.

The loss was Oklahoma's first of the season and immediately lessens the Sooners' chances of making it to a third BCS title game in four years.

"I've made a million mistakes; I'll make a million more," Stoops added. "In each game and in that game included … there are things I could have done differently or changed. Unlike officials, players and coaches don't have that opportunity. They had an opportunity to get it right and they chose not to.

"So I find it still absolutely inexcusable and unacceptable. In particular [the] people who had an opportunity to review it all and look at it and get it right. They chose not to. You discern whether a one-game suspension is appropriate for those individuals. I'm not talking about people in the heat of the moment out there in the middle of the chaos. I'm talking about people who, like every viewer at home, had an opportunity to see it. It's not for me to decide what is appropriate, but I think it's fair to say that a one-game suspension compared to the way our season now is altered, I don't know if that fits the situation."

Stoops said on Sunday he believes an Oregon player interfered with Oklahoma's chance to recover an onside kick by touching the ball before it traveled 10 yards. The play gave Oregon possession and set up the Ducks' winning drive.

He also said an Oklahoma defender tipped a pass by Oregon's Dennis Dixon, and Sooners safety Darien Williams should not have been flagged for pass interference on a play that set up the Ducks' winning score.

"The instant replay was brought up to eliminate issues like this. And here, there are a number of issues that are clearly -- looking at video -- wrong," Stoops said Sunday.

On the onside kick, Oregon's Brian Paysinger jumped in front of Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly and appeared to knock the ball forward to a group of players from both teams. Officials ruled that an Oregon player recovered the ball and was down before the ball squirted out to Oklahoma's Allen Patrick, who picked it up.

"I see my guy stepping up inside of 10 yards to go up and gain reception, gain possession of the football, I see their guy go in front of him and hit the football before my guy is allowed to at 10 yards and I see him collide with my guy inside of 10 yards as well," Stoops said.

"That's illegal touching and interfering with the reception. And then I see my guy get up with the football that's laying on the ground."

Two plays later, defensive end C.J. Ah You tipped Dixon's pass to Paysinger that resulted in a pass-interference call against Williams, Stoops said. Immediately after the penalty, Dixon found Paysinger wide open in the end zone on a 23-yard pass to give Oregon the lead with 46 seconds left.

As time expired, Oregon blocked Garrett Hartley's 44-yard field goal try that would have given Oklahoma the win even after all the controversy.

Stoops said he hopes the sequence does not lead to the downfall of instant replay.

"I would hope not," Stoops said. "Even though they acted as they did, at least the whole country and everybody sees what was ... and what really happened."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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