Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Wednesday, October 01, 2010


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

2010 WEEKLY BULLETIN #5



Conference games will be starting this week. These games will take our best effort to officiate. Let's review a few things that we have discussed this season. (1) Control your sidelines for the safety of the coaches, players and yourself. (2) Keep the pace of the game moving by avoiding long delays in penalty enforcement and officials' huddles. (3) Make sure what you call will be supported by video. If you think it was a foul, it was not. (4) Get the correct distances on penalty enforcements. (5) Start games on time. (6) Above all, use good common sense.

Coaches' Code of Ethics. Be a positive role model by treating players, other coaches, officials, administers and the public with respect. To turn your back on players who break the rules on and off the field is unethical. Respect the sport and your opponents by not running up scores. Recruit players in a positive and professional manner. Negative recruiting is unethical. Place the emotional and physical well-being of the student-athletes ahead of the desire to win.

Holding Lesson. When I played in high school as an offensive lineman, I was taught to block with my arms up against my chest, parallel to the ground, with hands closed. (No, we did NOT wear leather helmets!). Now that the blocking techniques have changed, we have apparently decided that holding requires a takedown. Referees, Umpires and Flanks, let's make sure we are watching the guards and tackles for holding. Know our philosophies. Make sure that the offensive player takes the feet away, grabs or pulls after being beat, or twists and turns the defensive player. When in doubt, it is not a foul. That said, let's make sure the offensive player is gaining an advantage.

History Lesson. When I started football officiating at the collegiate level, there were mechanics and philosophies used in all NCAA games. Many times there were noticeable differences from conference to conference. There were also the dreaded NFL philosophies and mechanics. Debates raged on about who's were the most effective. Over the years, the NCAA conferences became more consistent. Why? They started using NFL philosophies and mechanics. With seven officials, the NFL approach has been tried and tested. In the early days, the NFL spent a lot of time and resources analyzing film and developing the best on-field mechanics for its officials. Our philosophies on DPI, the completion of a catch, holding, etc., were all developed on Sundays and handed down to us. Officials who want to learn would do well watching games on Sunday and studying the NFL mechanics and philosophies. The NFL continues to spend a lot of time and resources making its officials the best they can be. We should all strive to emulate them. For the record, the same thing is beginning to happen in college basketball.

Keep your Thoughts to Yourself. One of the worst things that officials can do is talk about another official's ability or judgment. None of us are perfect, and we are all in this officiating journey together. Talking about others behind their backs hurts the whole avocation. If you think that critiquing other officials behind their backs helps your progression or gets you better assignments, you are wrong.

Self-Evaluation. I know I mentioned it last week, but I want to reiterate this. One of the best ways to improve is to self-evaluate your performance after every game.

Measuring Success. Are we making any progress to improve the college officiating in Southern California? What way should we measure our success? Our training is excellent. Our membership is continuing to increase. Our officials have been hired in Division I, Division II, and the NFL. In my 30+ years in community college football, I have seen our officiating improve dramatically. The preparation is much better. The game is much quicker. The players are bigger. The coaches are more prepared and informed. The biggest change is the improvement in the use of video technology that has allowed us to watch ourselves and get better. That video also makes us much more accountable. By the time we get out of the locker room after a game, our mistakes are already being viewed on YouTube. This accountability is a good thing. Use it to learn and get better.

Catch. With HD television, instant replay and better camera angles, defining a “catch” has taken on a life of its own. Because our community college games don't have these tools to help us get the call right on the field, we must develop our philosophies. (1) During the process of the catch, a receiver must get firm control of the ball. An easy way to think about it is whether or not the receiver pulls the ball into his body. (2) If a receiver goes into the air in the field of play or end zone then comes to the ground, the ball must remain in his firm possession without touching the ground. (3) If a receiver goes into the air and comes down with a foot inbounds, and his body lands out of bounds, the ball must not move once the receiver hits the ground. We don't have replay to help us out. Therefore, when in doubt, in our game, the ball is incomplete. This will help avoid cheap fumbles and other problems.

Inches. Football is a game of inches. One inch into the end zone is a touchdown. One inch on the sideline is out of bounds. Remember this on our spots both in the field of play and on runners going out of bounds. Let's try hard to determine where the ball is when the ball is declared dead in bounds or crosses out of bounds. The NFL has done numerous studies on this. They have determined that, in general, we as officials tend to cheat the runner on our spots. Remember that as you decide on spots.

Umpire Mechanics. Umpires, you MUST assist on pass plays over the middle. This is imperative and one of your most important jobs. You are in the best position to rule on these plays. On plays inside the 8-yard line, avoid standing on the goal line. Because that is where any play is designed to go, you'll be better positioned behind the goal line. There's a reason we have the deeps stationed on the goal line from outside the five-yard line, and inside the five, the flanks move immediately to the goal line.

Headsets. We have to say this every year. Headsets are not covered by our rules. If one side's headsets are not working, inform the opponents of that fact. The opponents should be professional and ethical and not use their headsets. If they don't, it is not covered by the rules. We can't always punish unethical conduct. If they refuse to remove their headsets, do not require them to do so. It is up to them.

In football officiating, don't let perfection get in the way of "being really good."

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations

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