Sports

Slow down! Officials taking college football's pace-of-play fight into their own hands

  • FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2013, file photo, icicles hang from the play clock during the second half  of an NCAA college football game between UCF and SMU at Ford Stadium in Dallas. Under the old 25-second play clock, pace of play was almost entirely under the officials' control. The men regulating the game determined when the clock stopped after a play and when it stated before the next snap, orchestrating the pace with hand signals to the clock operator. The running 40-second play clock changed everything.(AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Brandon Wade)  MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES, MAGS OUT, TV OUT

    FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2013, file photo, icicles hang from the play clock during the second half of an NCAA college football game between UCF and SMU at Ford Stadium in Dallas. Under the old 25-second play clock, pace of play was almost entirely under the officials' control. The men regulating the game determined when the clock stopped after a play and when it stated before the next snap, orchestrating the pace with hand signals to the clock operator. The running 40-second play clock changed everything.(AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Brandon Wade) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES, MAGS OUT, TV OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2013, file photo, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema talks to an official in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA's switch to a 40-second play clock in 2008 altered the way college football games were managed, the pace of play no longer in the hands of the officials but the two teams' offenses. With defenses struggling to keep up, the NCAA football rules committee earlier this year looked at possibly prohibiting teams from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock. Supporters of the rule, like Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Alabama's Nick Saban, argued it was needed to allow teams to substitute for fatigued players and prevent injuries. (AP Photo/Beth Hall, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2013, file photo, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema talks to an official in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fayetteville, Ark. The NCAA's switch to a 40-second play clock in 2008 altered the way college football games were managed, the pace of play no longer in the hands of the officials but the two teams' offenses. With defenses struggling to keep up, the NCAA football rules committee earlier this year looked at possibly prohibiting teams from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock. Supporters of the rule, like Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Alabama's Nick Saban, argued it was needed to allow teams to substitute for fatigued players and prevent injuries. (AP Photo/Beth Hall, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2014, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban argues with an official in the first half of the NCAA college football Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma in New Orleans. The NCAA's switch to a 40-second play clock in 2008 altered the way college football games were managed, the pace of play no longer in the hands of the officials but the two teams' offenses. With defenses struggling to keep up, the NCAA football rules committee earlier this year looked at possibly prohibiting teams from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock. Supporters of the rule, like Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Alabama's Nick Saban, argued it was needed to allow teams to substitute for fatigued players and prevent injuries. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 2, 2014, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban argues with an official in the first half of the NCAA college football Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma in New Orleans. The NCAA's switch to a 40-second play clock in 2008 altered the way college football games were managed, the pace of play no longer in the hands of the officials but the two teams' offenses. With defenses struggling to keep up, the NCAA football rules committee earlier this year looked at possibly prohibiting teams from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock. Supporters of the rule, like Arkansas' Bret Bielema and Alabama's Nick Saban, argued it was needed to allow teams to substitute for fatigued players and prevent injuries. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)  (The Associated Press)

The quarterback throws toward the sideline, where a receiver hauls the pass in, gets two feet down and flips the ball to the official.

What follows is a chaotic dance between an up-tempo offense and the defense trying to stop it.

Offensive players stream off the field, crossing paths with their replacements. The defense makes substitutions, players scramble to get into position.

Caught in the middle are the officials, who have to find a balance between spotting the ball quickly for the offense and allowing the defense time to set up — something that's increasingly been a problem since fast-paced offenses have cropped up more frequently in college football.

Now, the officials are taking the pace back.

Formalizing ideas they've discussed among themselves over the past few seasons, the officials have added pace-of-play procedures in the football officiating mechanics manual.