Sympathy for the zebras

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

You won't get much argument out of Joe Paopao as far as refereeing is concerned.

That's because the Renegades coach once wore the zebra outfit himself.

While living in the San Diego area, he worked as a Pop Warner football referee, and has also officiated at basketball and baseball games.

So when there's talk that an official might have missed a call or two -- as appeared to be the case during Ottawa's 37-29 loss to the B.C. Lions on Friday -- Paopao isn't going to make a big deal of it.

"Hey, they're human," Paopao said yesterday after reviewing game tapes with his fellow coaches. "Everybody's moving around out there like race cars, and sometimes they're going to miss things."

One play in particular that stood out came in the third quarter after Ottawa had surrendered the lead on a 75-yard punt return touchdown by ex-Renegade Aaron Lockett.

The Lions had marched to the Ottawa one-yard line, where on second down linebacker D'Wayne Taylor hit quarterback Dave Dickenson and appeared to make him fumble.

RULED INCOMPLETE PASS

The Renegades recovered the ball, but officials ruled that Dickenson's arm was in motion and called it an incomplete pass.

It turned out to be a big play. On the ensuing third-down gamble, running back Antonio Warren scored with less than a minute remaining in the quarter, giving B.C. a 12-point lead after the convert.

Paopao watched tapes after the team returned from Vancouver on Saturday and thought the referees made the correct call.

Perhaps the outcome of the play might have been different if the CFL had a video-replay system to review a limited amount of close calls, as is the case in the NFL. But Paopao believe that will never happen.

"We don't have the resources," he said. "You need 23 cameras, and I kind of like the spontaneity about making the call ... Just trust your training and make the call."

Paopao also noted video replay would delay games which he believes are already too long at 31/2-4 hours.

BREAKS OF GAME

"If we get the call, then okay, we catch a break. If they get a call, they catch a break," he said.

"Did that cost us the game? No, I don't think so, because there are six or seven plays that are going to determine the outcome."

AHEAD ON THE CHART: Despite his CFL record-tying performance of five sacks on Friday, Ottawa defensive lineman Anthony Collier remains behind Kai Ellis on the depth chart. "We still think Kai Ellis is ahead of (Collier) as far as ability and experience, based on our coaches," said Paopao. "But, hey, this is depth and strength, and we know we've got a guy who can play as well." Ellis, who had two sacks in the season opener against Edmonton, has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Collier, who missed portions of training camp after suffering a sprained knee, aggravated the injury on Friday.

'GADES TURN DOWN TRADE: Ottawa was offered veteran OL Dave Mudge from the Blue Bombers for a first-round pick and cash, but decided against making the deal. Instead, Winnipeg sent Mudge to the Alouettes for Aaron Fiacconi, a 2006 conditional draft pick and future considerations.


Videos

Photos