From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 04, 2007 1:54:00 PM
Last Saturday was another day of competitive games requiring officials to concentrate and focus on every play. The plays discussed in this email are aimed solely at making each of us better officials.
Referees, we must do a better job of protecting kickers. Develop a philosophy for distinguishing "running into" (5-yard) from "roughing" (15-yard and first down). Remember, if you don't think the foul deserves an automatic first down, that's why the "running into the kicker" penalty was introduced. If the "plant leg" is hit, make it roughing. All other contact (unless extreme) should be ruled running into the kicker. Let's make sure we protect these kickers. Most teams only have one.
One crew last week, in the 45 minutes prior to the game, created a list of 30 equipment issues (hip and knee pads) and gave it to the equipment manager to resolve. The coach asked how this could happen on the fifth game of the season and not in any earlier games. I had no answer for him. We must start doing a better job on this issue, especially with safety equipment, such as required pads. I commend this crew for finding these violations and for working with the equipment personnel rather than the head coach.
We must continue to control the sidelines. When one of us fails to keep the coaches off the field, it only creates problems for future officials. Keep the coaches off the field. Period. Review Rule 1-2-4-a. The coaches are required to stay six feet from the sideline, by rule. When they step on the field, they are at least two yards outside their coaching box. Obviously, I don't expect coaches to stay six feet off the field at all times. However, I do expect them to stay off the field. If we commit to enforcing the sidelines, the coaches will learn. Referees, remind the coaches about their coaching box in pre-game. Flanks, feel free to call sideline warnings early (without disrupting the flow of the game or stopping the clock, if possible).
Some observers have been reporting that flank officials are not pinching in at the end of the play. This is especially important on close plays at the goal line and on close first down situations. There is no better way to "sell" a close spot than by moving onto the field. Don't jump over players, but with seven officials on the field, there are other officials who can clean up for the flanks when you need to pinch in. Stay wide during the play, and move in after the ball is dead.
Speaking of "selling" a call, we had a game where the HL rules a TD on a goal line play by giving the TD signal for a second before lowering his arms, and had no whistle. The ball came out, and the defense ran 100 yards the other way. Three officials chased the play to about the 50-yard line. Although the crew got together and ruled correctly, the crew completely lost credibility on this play. Blow the whistle and "sell" these types of calls. Remember an inadvertent signal also kills the play the same way as an inadvertent whistle. If it is close, sell it! At this level, no one will have any idea if you are right or wrong. There is no replay to worry about. That said, get it right!
Everyone on the crew must signal if they see a defensive player touch a pass. It is important should there be contact on the intended receiver. If everyone signals a tipped pass, it is easy to sell to the coaches and crowd that there was NO DPI.
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 and that we are moving to a whistle-less game. However, with seven officials, someone should be able to see a player down with the ball in his procession. I know I am old school! Whoever sees this, blow a whistle. Runs up the middle, this will probably be the Umpire or Referee.
Referees you must take the QB from sideline to sideline behind the LOS. If the QB goes out of bounds, you need to be there! Let's protect those QBs. (Again, most of these teams only have one real QB.)
Remember that you only have to concentrate for seven seconds 150 times per game to have a good game. It shouldn't be hard.
Keep up the good work, and remember every play is a potential disaster for any and every official. You can't afford to "take a play off."
Finally, for those of you who may think that these are "only" community college games, you should know that California Community College has a rich history of great football programs, players and coaches. The following NFL Hall-of-Famers are products of our colleges:
Frank Gifford: Bakersfield College
Joe Gibbs: Cerritos College
Ron Yary: Cerritos College
Ollie Matson: City College of San Francisco
O.J. Simpson: City College of San Francisco
John Madden: College of San Mateo
Bill Walsh: College of San Mateo
Joe Perry: Compton College
Pete Rozelle: Compton College
Hugh McElhenny: Compton College
Gino Marchetti: Modesto Community College
Willie Wood: West Hills College
Warren Moon: West Los Angeles College
Source: Pro Football Hall of Fame and JC Athletic Bureau