Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Thursday, October 4, 2012



As you all probably know, we are getting into the time of the season in which players and coaches are sometimes tired and frustrated. This sometimes results in trash-talking, late-hits, and other problems. Each one of us must take the lead in preventing the season from turning sour. The administrators and coaches have been very supportive of our officiating program and our officials. However, we must continue to improve during the second-half of the season.

Please review the wedge rule. There were a few situations last week that were close to being fouls. I think that many of us have forgotten this rule, since it isn't one of this year's new rules. We must continue to look for it. In addition, there may be some special teams' coaches that don't fully understand this rule. Discuss this safety rule at this week's pre-game conferences.

Nothing hurts the credibility of the crew more than one official signaling complete and one signaling incomplete. Without replay, we rely on our philosophies. By philosophy, when in doubt, a pass is incomplete. If one of us signals incomplete, make it incomplete. If we handle this fast, hopefully few will notice.

There has been some discussion regarding blocking a player that is in position to catch a backward pass below the waist. (Rule 9-1-6, Exception 2(c)) The spirit and intent of the rule is obvious; however, some judgment is needed before making this call. The mere fact that a player is behind the QB does not necessarily mean that such player "is in a position to receive a backward pass." There must be some indication that there will actually be a backward pass. I would suggest waiting to see how this type of play develops before making this call.

Comments from our observers:
Too many officials are more concerned about getting a new ball after the play. Make sure the colors separate fully before worrying about a ball. Don't be in a hurry.
Remember that DPI more than 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage is not a spot foul. Don't be concerned about the spot. I understand that if there are flags from more than one official, we like to get them on the same spot. Don't worry about that. If the enforcement spot is the previous spot, don't waste time making sure the flag is on the right yard line.
In one game, the Back Judge was 20 yards off the ball on one play, 25 the next, 30 the next. Back Judges should start the play 25 yards from the line of scrimmage. Do this every time. Consistency is the key.
On a punt play, the receiver muffed the ball, which was then recovered by a kicking team player. This player then advanced 30 yards before being tackled. To take a phrase from Monday Night Football, "Come on man!" This is a simple rule that all of our deep officials need to know and enforce. We are VERY lucky no one was injured on this play.
When we are outside of two minutes in each half, there should be no need for officials to give the clock status signal to the Referee (except maybe after a penalty).
Late in the game, in a game that was out of reach, on third down, the losing team made a great defensive play that held their opponent at the negative 5-yard line. They would next punt from deep in their end zone; however, the Side Judge threw a flag for sideline interference on the defense. This resulted in a first down. I am all in favor of keeping the sidelines clear. However, let's have some common sense and some game awareness. At that time in the game, if you don't make contact with someone, this is not the time that we want to "make a point." Game management and awareness will be very important as we enter the second half of the season.
When looking at video, I have noticed our Line Judges and Head Linesmen with their arms extended to indicate a receiver off the line of scrimmage. This is a high school mechanic, but we are not doing it in our games. You are all good enough to see that there are people off the line of scrimmage across the field. If you feel there are more than four in the backfield, then tap your flag to notify the other flank that you are throwing for too many men in the backfield.

Line Judges, do not forget to punch back on backward passes. The Line Judge is the only official ruling on this. If necessary, take a few steps into the offensive backfield to get a better look. It is important that you signal so that the other officials and coaches know you saw a backward pass. Also important is that this punch-back is caught on film, so I can defend certain calls to our coaches by simply showing them that the pass was judged to be backward.

Social media is a wonderful thing. It helps connect people all around the world. It is especially great for those of us with kids and grandkids in other states. Please remember, however, that what you put on Facebook and other social media sites are viewable by just about anyone. Pictures of the food you eat, the drinking you do, the exotic locations you visit and everything else is viewable. All of these pictures and comments can be twisted in ways that make things look bad. Just ask Brian Stropolo, the replacement official and Saints "superfan" who was pulled from his assignment to officiate the Saints game. When you post pictures with fans, cheerleaders, etc., it certain makes it appear you are a "superfan." It indicates a bias.

I received an email from an athletic director complaining how he was treated by an official while standing on the sidelines. I would hope as officials we would treat everyone professionally, but that is certainly important when it comes to administrators. Because a majority of our checks come straight from the athletic directors, we should probably know who those people are, and treat them with courtesy. Just like players and coaches, these people are our "customers."

Athletic directors: Please make sure to get competent people to handle the balls, work the chains and run the clock. I have heard from some officials that some of the ball people were roughly 10 years old. We don't have a minimum age, but 10 is too young. Handling the balls can be a dangerous job, and it is too important to game flow. Same with the chains. In addition, some of the clock operators are simply not paying enough attention to the game. The clock operators should not be boosters or superfans. The clock operator, ball people and chains personnel are all part of the officiating crew. They need to pay attention and work just as hard as the officials.

Philosophy of the week: Wide receivers or slot backs lined up outside a tight end will be ruled on the line of scrimmage and covering the tight end only if there is no stagger between their alignments. If in question, he is not covered up.

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. John Wooden

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association

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