From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2007 6:45:00 AM
Please keep up your dedication to being the best official you can be. As a whole, we in the SCCFOA are much better trained in NCAA rules and mechanics then we were a few years ago. The instructional programs are outstanding and our local meetings are generating great discussions. All of us must continue to improve ourselves and help our crews get better each week.
Umpires you MUST assist on passes over the middle. This is IMPERATIVE. No one is better positioned to rule on this type of play than the Umpire. However, there is probably no need to rule on a pass play near the sideline, unless asked for help. We have two other officials in a better position to rule on these catches. Let each crew member earn their pay.
I just finished reviewing a video sent in regarding a catch/fumble call. This is becoming a very tough call. You must develop a philosophy to have a better chance of making the right call when it happens. The player must firmly possess the ball and make a "football move" to be a catch. When in doubt, it is incomplete. However, this is a call you must "sell" if you are calling it incomplete. In the video, the player caught a swing pass in front of the HL, turned and took three steps before he was hit and fumbled. HL dropped a bean bag and (of course) the defense recovered. The officials got together and ruled an incomplete pass. However, there was never an incomplete signal from any official. Right or wrong, we need to do a better job on our mechanics. If someone on the crew had signaled an incomplete pass, we would not be discussing this play.
Don't confuse NCAA and federation rules on offsides. In the NCAA, to be offsides on B, one the following must happen:
* Team B is in the neutral zone at the snap (live-ball foul); or
* Team B contacts a Team A player prior to the snap (dead-ball foul); or
* Team B player enters the neutral zone, causing a threatened Team A lineman to react immediately (a maximum of three Team A lineman can be threatened by a Team B player) (dead-ball foul); or
* Team B moves through the zone and continues his charge behind the Team A linemen directly toward the QB or kicker (even though it causes no reaction from Team A) (dead-ball foul). (See A.R. 7-1-5-III).
Remember, Team B is afforded the opportunity to get back to his side of the LOS prior to the snap, so long as he: (1) has not contacted a Team A player, (2) has not caused Team A to react or (3) is not running unimpeded toward the QB or kicker. If Team B jumps into the neutral zone without committing a dead-ball foul as outlined above, and a Team A back reacts, the foul will be on Team A for a false start.
Here is a play situation that occurred a few weeks ago: Team A attempted a field goal from the B-30 yard line. The kick was short of the end zone, untouched by Team B, and was downed by Team A at the B-2 yard line. Where should the ball next be put into play? The ball is returned to the previous spot in this situation, NOT at the B-2 where the ball became dead. This is not high school. Punts and field goal attempts are treated differently. Please review Rule 8-4-2-b. This is the type of play in a game that we must get correct in order to have any credibility.
During our games, please try to communicate with the sidelines in a professional and courteous manner. I know that coaches tend to use heated language with us at times. We are supposed to be the calming influence when a coach is upset and wants an answer. Understand that the coach is biased and emotional during a game. His job depends on his team winning. We are not biased and should never be emotional.
I do not care if you are an introvert. You gain a lot of credibility and respect when you look coaches in the face, eye-to-eye, and are honest and sincere. Don't be afraid to talk with the coaches on the sideline. It goes a long way when they get to know you and trust you. The number one complaint I get from coaches is a lack of communication from the officials.
Help each other out, cover for each other but don't make excuses for your fellow official. Just keep helping him get through a difficult situation or game. Sooner or later, you may be the one who needs the support.
Get along with each other, as you are professionals. Even if you are not keen on someone on your crew, you have to put your feelings aside and stand side-by-side during the game. There is no one else who is going to give you the support that you need except for your fellow crewmates.
So, go out there and show them what you are made of and hopefully that will be good enough. There are six other guys depending on you."
COORDINATOR OF FOOTBALL OFFICIALS
BIG EAST CONFERENCE