From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 4, 2013
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2013 WEEKLY BULLETIN #5
Last Saturday, there were three games that had dramatic and unusual endings. In one game, the apparent winning touchdown celebration ended quickly when the ensuing kickoff was returned for the ultimate winning touchdown. I attended a game where the team scored late to tie the game, needing only an extra point to win. I have never seen it happen to win a game, but the kick was blocked and the defense returned it 97 yards for a two-point win. In another game the team was ready to score from the 4-yard line for the win, only to have the pass picked off for another 97-yard return for a winning touchdown. Coaches have such a tough job, and when victory is so close only to lose on the last play, it can be very emotional. I hope it can be turned into a learning experience for the student-athletes.
October is breast cancer awareness month. You will be seeing a lot of pink in NFL games all month. I have been asked about what is acceptable for the SCFA. Commissioner Sartoris and I agree that we need to use common sense. Certainly, wristbands, shoelaces, pink whistles (for officials), skullcaps, cleats, towels, and patches are OK for the month of October. If you are planning anything else, please email the commissioner.
The following happened to me many years ago as a high school official. In a play last week a split receiver asked the Line Judge if he was on the line of scrimmage. The Line Judge told him he needed to move up, which he did at the same time as the ball was snapped, and the Line Judge called an illegal motion foul. The coach thought we talked the player into the foul. He's absolutely right. The correct mechanic is to point to your forward foot/leg, indicating the LOS, and let the player make his own decision.
I am noticing officials giving the small (at the waist) wind the clock signal when a runner stays inbounds on first downs. This is not a big issue, but since we are now winding the clock (except for the last two minutes of each half) when the ball is spotted after going out of bounds, the signal is unnecessary. Some Referees might be requesting this mechanic. I will discuss this with the Referees on the next conference call.
Watching some games on Hudl, I am not seeing every crew signaling when substitutes enter the game. Many colleges are running hurry-up offenses, so it is important that each crew use the same mechanic and signal subs every time the offense sends them in. It is up to the Referee to determine whether or not this is a situation requiring the Umpire to hold up the snap. The rest of the officials should signal ALL offensive substitutions. Referees, please discuss at this week's pre game.
There are a few things I am not seeing that are important.
-We need to have the Back Judge bean bag the end of a scrimmage kick
-Seven officials need to signal time-out when the clock is stopped
-All seven officials need to give 4th down rotating fists (false start) signal to indicate 4th down and try rules differences.
Referees, our mechanics recommend you spot the ball at times. This is a work in process. Officials at this level cannot chase loose balls and leave players uncovered. Someone will get you a new ball, so continue to dead-ball officiate.
One of the toughest, most important and challenging calls we see is the catch- fumble/incomplete pass call. In order to get this play correct you need to develop a philosophy as to what you look for in ruling on the play. First, did the receiver complete the catch process and make some type of "football move?" This is where philosophy, experience and judgment are necessary. The later two you will need to work on yourself (although being in the right position will help with judgment). The SCCFOA philosophy: when is question, this is an incomplete pass.
The Head Linesman must have game awareness, and when the Referee signals first down, move the chains immediately. It is now too late to measure. Never move the ball to the hash mark to measure; always measure where the ball becomes dead. All crewmembers should be aware if the ball is close to a first down and communicate accordingly. I am not seeing all crews following the SCCFA-approved mechanics while measuring for a first down. All crewmembers have a role in this process. Please know yours before this week's game.
On extra points and field goal situations, officials seem to be scrambling at the last second to either cover a kick or run. Communication and game awareness is necessary. Plays at the goal line should not have two officials standing on the same goal line waiting for the play to arrive. When there is a change of possession, officials are lining up on the wrong side of the LOS. These cosmetic things need to be corrected. If it looks like a fire drill, we lose credibility.
We had a "contact against the snapper" called late in the game last week. Watching it on video, it seemed like a marginal call. It was a BIG call, late in a close game. Our philosophy is that the foul needs to be big in order to call it in these situations. Call the train wrecks, but leave the fender benders alone (talk to the student-athletes).
I have heard some chatter about the "wedge block" on kickoffs. This rule was added a few years ago. Coaches quit teaching it, and it went away quickly. If we are seeing this type of action again, Referees need to advise the head coach that this is still an illegal block.
Although we sometimes say in officiating it's better to be lucky than good, please remember that "luck" is simply the intersection of opportunity and preparation. Best of luck to all of you as we begin the second-half of the season.
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association