Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Wednesday, September 09, 2009



From all reports, the first week’s games went very well. My compliments to all the officials and coaches. That said, we are always striving to get better. Remember, officiating is the only job where we are expected to be perfect, and then get better.

After a national television audience witnessed the very worst of college athletics this past weekend, I would like to compliment our coaches for the work that they do with the student-athletes. I cannot remember any unsporting act in any SCFA game like we witnessed last week. Due to the financial pressures on California community colleges, we must make sure not to allow anything that may encourage the further elimination of athletic programs from our schools.

SCCFOA’s first video training presentation is now available on line at www.sscfoa.org. Go to the lower right side of the home page under “Video” and select “2009 SCCFOA Training Tape #1.” I encourage all coaches to view the video to understand what we are emphasizing to our officials. More importantly, coaches please continue to send me videos of plays from your games that you would like reviewed. Our research has confirmed that the constant review of plays is the best way to improve our officiating performance. Please continue to send videos.

Here are some thoughts as we head into this weekend’s games:

1. In last week’s bulletin, we discussed the new rule regarding the protection afforded the kicker who runs outside the tackle box. Remember that the key word is “runs.” If the kicker muffs or fumbles the ball outside the tackle box, he retains the same protection he would have had within the tackle box. Let’s make sure the kicker voluntarily goes outside the tackle box before taking away his protection.

2. Do NOT allow kickers to bring in kicking balls before a punt, try or field goal attempt. A team MUST use the same ball for an entire series. Unless not available (going out of bounds or an incomplete pass downfield), the ball used on third down is the ball we will use on fourth down.

3. Coaches continue to express their displeasure on whistles not being blown to end plays. I know we are all concerned with having an inadvertent whistle; however, coaches at this level still teach players to play hard until they hear the whistle. Last week we had a late hit called away from the end of the play where no whistle was blown. With seven officials, someone should be able to see a player down with the ball in his possession. Let’s have a whistle to signal the end of every play.

4. Hard to break old habits – Sideline officials: there is no need to give the Referee the wind or crossed wrist signal (ball out of bounds or not on the previous play) outside of two minutes remaining in either half. The Referee will always start the clock on the ready. I am not referring to a ball outside the numbers but still in bounds during a regular play that does not result in a first down. On those, we obviously continue to wind the clock for the clock operator to see.

5. I received a good question from a coach asking if players can hold hands when setting up the wedge on kickoff returns. I told him players cannot lock arms but touching or holding hands is OK before a player blocks an opponent. Rule 9-3-2-c provides that a player may not grasp or encircle a teammate “while contacting an opponent.” Therefore, so long as a player is not grasping a teammate at the time of the block, it is legal to hold hands in setting up the wedge. Let’s not get too technical with this call. The purpose of the rule is to not allow a player to clothesline an opponent. In setting up a wedge, the players are simply ensuring the proper alignment.

6. Remember that a point of emphasis this year is “Sideline Control.” SCFA member colleges are strongly encouraged to develop plans to enforce the rules regarding the team area and coaching box (Rule 1-2-3-a). Last year, an official was seriously injured after running into a coach who was on the field. Last weekend we had two officials on opposite sides of the field run into a coach on the same play! Both officials lost sight of their keys which resulted in no one seeing a catch/fumble situation. Use common sense in enforcing the penalty (remember that we no longer have a free “warning”). Don’t go looking for a foul. However, if you contact a coach or substitute on the field or in the two-yard belt while covering a play, throw the flag and continue to officiate. Communicating with the head coach from the beginning of the game that you need that two yards in order to work the game safely and effectively will ensure that the coach will not be surprised should a penalty be called.

7. Referees: the QB is your responsibility from sideline to sideline behind the LOS. If the QB goes out of bounds, you need to be there! If the QB turns and runs up the field, continue to trail the play. We must protect those QBs! (Remember, most of our teams have limited options at QB.)

8. Let’s work on game flow. We need to do a better job on enforcing penalties efficiently. If a penalty option is obvious, mark them off quickly. There is no need to talk to the coach or the team (i.e., a false start). When a decision is needed, Referees go to the head coach for the decision (don’t count on the players knowing what to do). In addition, when we have a free kick out-of-bounds, let’s assume that the team wants the ball put in play 30 yards in advance of the kick (usually at the 40). If the coach indicates to a flank that he wants a re-kick, immediately get the attention of the Referee.

9. Remember the emphasis on the protection of defenseless players. The following are what we consider “defenseless” players:
· The quarterback moving down the line who has handed or pitched the ball to a teammate, and then makes no attempt to participate further in the play.
· The pass receiver whose concentration is on the ball.
· The pass receiver who has clearly relaxed when the pass is no longer catchable.
· The kick receiver who has just touched the ball.
· The player who has relaxed once the ball has become dead.
· The player who is obviously out of the play.

Legendary Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of determination."

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association

©2015 SCCFOA - Southern California Collegiate Football Officials Association