From: "Rich Kollen" - email@example.com
Date: Friday, September 28, 2012
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2012 WEEKLY BULLETIN #5
I go to sleep many nights during the season after watching video and talking to coaches asking myself why community college games are so difficult to officiate. Officials have never worked harder to improve their performance, and players and coaches are certainly better. It is true that the rules are more complex than ever. However, I've been involved with community college football for over 40 years, and that couldn't be the only change. I have come up with the culprit: technology. Computers, smart phones and game video sharing services have changed the world and have also brought unprecedented levels of accountability to our games. When I started working in community college football, there were five officials with very little training other than a few pages of rule differences given out by the high school association. There were no evaluations, no ratings, and no rules or video study sessions. Coaches need to understand that officials are human, and bringing the human element into the game is going to lead to some mistakes being made. All that said, the SCCFOA must be doing something right. In the past three years, over 20 of our officials have gone on to higher levels of college football officiating.
For the first time in the 88-year history of California Community College Football, a female will be the Referee for the Southwestern at East Los Angeles College game this Saturday. Catherine Conti of Thousand Oaks has been a college football official for eight years and officiates FBS football in the Mountain West Conference. Congratulations Catherine!
What better week to discuss simultaneous catch? By rule, a catch (or recovery) is simultaneous when there is joint possession of a live ball by opposing players inbounds. (Rule 2-4-4) Remember the point at which a catch becomes simultaneous. Both players must have control of the ball at the time the catch is completed. If either has full control the player that ends up with the ball gets it. If both players have equal control of the ball at the time the catch is completed, it is a simultaneous catch, the ball is dead, and it belongs to the offense. It is VERY rare.
One thing we often overlook in officiating is the coin flip. I have witnessed crews using differing mechanics. The old way of doing it has four captains walk in with backs to their sideline and remain in that position for the flip. What the majority of college football is doing today (and what I'd like each of the crews to do) is have the four captains walk to the center of the field, and then shift to the right so that their backs are facing the goal line on their right. The Referee stands at the 50 facing the press box.
A coach complained to me that he was told by an official that defenders cannot contact an eligible receiver beyond five yards from the line of scrimmage (the NFL "illegal contact" rule). This is incorrect. Defensive players may block an eligible receiver until that player occupies the same yard line as the defender or until the opponent could not possibly block him. (Rule 9-3-4-c) What the defense cannot do is hold a receiver at any time. (Rule 9-3-4-b)
Please remember, if a pass is touched prior to contact that would normally be DPI, it should not be ruled a foul. (See Rule 7-3-9-b) However, if the touching is in the near vicinity of the receiver, and the contact happened before that touching, it is a foul.
Remember that the rules about linemen locking legs were changed last year. It is no longer illegal for linemen to lock legs. The rules committee found no compelling reason to prohibit players from locking legs, as the offense gains no unfair advantage through this alignment.
Referees and Back Judges need to do a better job cleaning up on running plays near the sidelines. When players go out-of-bound near a team bench, we should have four officials there to protect the players. This should include the flank and deep official on that side, as well as the Referee and Back Judge.
In a high-profile game last Saturday, on the first series of the fourth overtime period, the Referee ruled forward progress on a possible fumble. The ball was recovered by the defense. First of all, the Referee should VERY seldom rule on forward progress. That is the wing officials' call. Second, let's make sure that everyone is on the same page when ruling forward progress. If the ball carrier is engaged with only one defender, give him time to break loose. If there are two or more defenders controlling him and pushing him sideways or backward, that is when we should consider forward progress to be stopped. This is obviously a big call.
Philosophy: When in question on whether a pass is forward or backward Š it is a forward pass. Few things hurt the credibility of the crew more than officials giving opposite signals on the field (just ask Monday's replacement officials in the NFL). Without replay, the philosophy when in doubt is to rule a pass forward and incomplete.
Lineman A77 is in a threeŠpoint stance after the ball has been made ready-for-play. As Team A sends in substitutes, the Umpire comes to the ball to allow the defense to match up, and A77 lifts his hand from the ground. Ruling: Legal play, not a false start. (Rules 2-27-4-c, 7-1-2-b). By coming up to the ball, the Umpire has effectively interrupted the ready-for-play.
Common sense: Do not accept a game from a college at which you played football. It happened last weekend.
There continue to be misunderstandings about recent timing changes. The clock starts on the Referee's signal if, other than with fewer than two minutes remaining in a half, a Team A ball carrier, fumble or backward pass is ruled out of bounds. I have gotten reports from coaches that this is not being ruled consistently. Although I think we are ruling properly, when the ball goes out of bounds, make sure the coach is aware of when the game clock will start.
Remember, if a player is disqualified, the player must leave the playing enclosure within a reasonable amount of time. (Rule 2-27-12-b) We should not waste a lot of time on this. When a player is ejected, the Referee and another official should go to the head coach and inform him that his player has been disqualified and must leave the field. We then leave it to the coach to comply. We do not have to wait for the player to leave the field prior to resuming play.
Good luck this week! Thank you for continued commitment to the student-athletes.
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association