Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2010



Em-pa-thy [ém-puh-thee] – the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. As a college football official, there are times that you need to understand what a player or coach is experiencing to better communicate. A good learning skill is to put yourself in their shoes and evaluate if your communication skills would be effective if the roles were reversed—Try it!

On kicking plays in the NCAA, any signal by the receivers will kill the play at the conclusion of the kick. Deep officials on kicks, please remind all receivers how to legally shade their eyes by using their arm and hand. Make sure they know that the hand should not rise above the head.

We have discussed "pooch kicks" in past bulletins. Many colleges are using this kick in timely kickoff situations. If the kick surprises you, chances are it will be difficult to officiate. Remember that in the NCAA, unlike high school rules, when the ball is pooch-kicked (not into the ground), a member of the kicking team may catch the ball and retain possession (but can never advance the kick) (Rule 6-1-3-a). However, if a receiver is attempting to catch the kick, he must be given an unimpeded opportunity to do so (Rule 6-4-1). When in doubt, it is a foul for interfering with the opportunity to catch the kick. Last week on a pooch kick, the three covering officials were surprised when a member of the kicking team jumped in front of a receiver (without contact) and made the catch. The Referee was forced to call the foul from 40 yards away. Good crew-saving call, Larry Diel.

We had a 40-yard field goal that was short and muffed out of the end zone by the receivers. The crew returned the ball to the previous spot and awarded B a first down. I bet they would have all gotten it correct on the test! Now we need to translate the test to the field. If B wants to return a field goal attempt, we treat it as any other scrimmage kick (Rule 8-4-2-b).

Remember that players of both teams are restricted from blocking below the waist on a kicking play and a play with a change of possession. That said, let’s make sure we have a kick or a change of possession before making the call. (Rule 9-1-2-e).

All unsportsmanlike conduct fouls must be reported to the head coach. Explain that another unsportsmanlike conduct foul on the same player will cause the player to be disqualified (Rule 9-2-1). In addition, in the SCFA, a disqualified player will receive a one-game suspension. Referees, in your pre-games this week, please discuss the difference between unsportsmanlike conduct fouls and personal fouls. There is a big difference in both the foul and the penalty enforcement.

The holder for a try or a field goal attempt is prohibited from marking the spot on the turf where he wants to put the tip of the ball. Although I commend the Referee for knowing the rule, I would suggest a comment to the holder in the realm of “don’t do that again” rather than a flag. My guess is the only one in the stadium who knew the rule was the Referee. If he had simply warned the holder, then we’d have three people who would know the rule for next time, the Referee, the kicker and the holder.

Forward progress ends and a whistle should be blown when a player is wrapped-up, being driven backward or clearly stood up by more than three opponents. If you let this go, what happens next (fumble, late hit, etc.) is harder to officiate.

During time-outs, coaches are allowed on the field to coach. This is not the time to have a discussion with the officials. Officials, I encourage you to engage coaches in professional communication. However, do it by walking the coach back to the sidelines. When it is done in the open, fans and opposing coaches get the wrong impression.

For many of the new officials, accountability at this level is not the same as it is on Friday nights. You must understand that each of your calls will be critiqued by coaches and many are sent to me for my opinion. If I call you, please understand that it is all in an effort to help you learn from my advice and become a better official. I will only call you if I think you are someone who can benefit from the experience and advice. If you can’t take any constructive criticism, perhaps you are in the wrong avocation.

The blocking zone is a rectangle centered on the snapper and extending five yards laterally and three yards longitudinally in each direction (Rule 2-3-6-a). I have heard it referred to as the “free clipping zone.” That is technically incorrect. While offensive players on the line of scrimmage at the snap and within the blocking zone may legally clip, they cannot block an opponent from behind at or below the knees (Rule 9-1-2-d Exceptions). Please discuss this at the next pre-game.

Unfortunately, in the last two weeks we have had calls that have decided the outcome of games. I encourage the officials who were on these games, witnessed these games or have heard about the games to respect the college football officiating fraternity and keep your opinions to yourself. Many of you have experienced the pain of a blown call that costs a team the game, and if you haven’t yet experienced it, you will.

Last week, there was a play on 4th down in which the quarterback broke a tackle and ran 40 yards to the B2, where he fumbled the ball. Another A player recovered the ball in the end zone. The Side Judge and Field Judge correctly bracketed the play (good mechanics) and incorrectly ruled touchdown (bad rules knowledge). I would like to commend the crew member who saved the crew by asking questions and determining it was a 4th down fumble (Rule 7-2-2-a Exception 2). The rest of the crew owes this crew member!

There is a famous saying by Peter Kay: Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. Do you see anything that equates to this in football officiating?

Have a great week of games, and thank you again for your hard work!

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations

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