Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Big screen debut

Jacksonville State’s scoreboard and video board complex makes its football debut Saturday when the Gamecocks play Chattanooga in their home opener at Paul Snow Stadium.

The big board, the crown jewel of an $800,000 scoreboard project, sits high above the east end of the stadium and head coach Jack Crowe wouldn’t mind breaking it in in a big way.

“I hope we burn out the bulbs scoring so many points,” he said. “And we are going to score some points.”

Even though the screen faces the west, JSU officials insist the setting sun during an afternoon game will not affect the picture on the video board. They rave about its sharpness at night.

Besides the usual fare of score, time and down, the video board is capable of showing television-quality pictures. Shown on the board will be a 90-second team introduction, the starting lineups, and personal welcomes from JSU president Bill Meehan, athletic director Jim Fuller and Ohio Valley Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.

And, oh yeah, instant replays.

“Woe be it for the officials if they miss a call,” Crowe said.

Actually, the OVC has an instant replay policy that prohibits the showing of controversial replays that would include, but not be limited to, penalties, timing decisions, coaches and officials in discussions or “other situations that could incite a violent crowd reaction toward the participants.” Non-controversial calls should be shown “in a manner consistent with sportsmanship and good taste,” the policy reads.

The replays are dictated by the TV production truck, but its display on the big board will be controlled in the press box by Roger Shultz, JSU’s associate athletic director for external affairs.

The board was in operation for graduation, but hasn’t been used on a game day yet.
Crowe suspects the players and coaches will be glancing at it from time to time, perhaps using it to pick up nuances of particular plays.

“I doubt if I’ll look at it that much,” JSU senior receiver and captain Taurean Rhetta said, “because some of the stadiums we have played in have had screens — big ol’ screens — and I never really paid it too much attention.

“I think all the players know there’s a time and a place for everything, and during the course of the game you should be focused on the game, not on the new big screen.”

Here are some interest tidbits:
Senior tackle Carnillous Tables is expected to start for the Gamecocks Saturday. He didn't start in the season opener for disciplinary reasons.

If you think JSU has quarterback troubles, you haven't seen Chattanooga. Senior starter Antonio Miller suffered a knee injury in Thursday's opening-night loss to Carson-Newman. He didn't practice Monday and his availability for Saturday is considered right now a game-time decision. There will be more on the JSU quarterback situation in Thursday's Star.

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