SEC determines Leak fumble call was correct


In this sequence of photos, Florida quarterback Chris Leak looks to throw as Auburn's Tray Blackmon surges toward him. The judgement call of whether Leak passed incomplete or tried to stop his forward motion and fumbled is why the SEC ruled there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the field: Fumble.

BRIAN W. KRATZER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
In this photo taken by The Sun's Brian W. Kratzer, Florida quarterback Chris Leak looks to throw as Auburn's Tray Blackmon surges toward him. The judgement call of whether Leak passed incomplete or tried to stop his forward motion and fumbled is why the SEC ruled there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the field: Fumble.
League says there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call
SEC replay official Al Ford made the correct call Saturday night on Chris Leak's fumble in the fourth quarter of Florida's loss to Auburn, SEC supervisor of officials Rogers Redding said Monday.
On Monday, Redding viewed the same video that Ford did in the heat of the game and said the ruling made on the field by referee Thomas Ritter was correct.
"Al Ford did a major bowl game; he's not some guy we brought in from the streets," Redding said. "If the ruling on the field was an incomplete pass, it would not have been reviewable. It was a tough call. But after looking at the different angles, there simply was not enough evidence to reverse the call.
"His arm was going forward, but it looked like he was trying to stop it when the ball came out."
The play came with Florida trailing 18-17 and driving at the Auburn 6-yard line. On third-and-3, Leak pump-faked a pass, then started his arm forward again, appearing to stop his arm as the ball came loose.
Auburn's Tray Blackmon, playing his first game after serving a six-game suspension, scooped up the loose ball while Leak motioned to Ritter that he was trying to pass.
Redding did say that Ford should have buzzed the officials on the field when it was clear the play needed to be reviewed in greater detail than take a quick look. Instead, Florida coach Urban Meyer had to call a timeout to have the play thoroughly reviewed.
"It would have been cleaner if he had buzzed down, no question, and not forced Florida to use a timeout," Redding said.

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