Get Ready for Fall 2022

From: "Rich Kollen" -
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Thursday, October 07, 2021



This is a nice human interest story. A young student-athlete, who had never kicked a football, but played soccer for most of his life, went to Southwestern College in San Diego. He tried out for the football team. Saturday night, he kicked a 52-yard field goal to win the game. Prior to that, he kicked both 50-yard and 51-yard field goals. Veteran coach, Ed Carberry, said this is why he’s in coaching…to change the lives of the student-athletes. This student-athlete will certainly have opportunities at a very high level of football. He will also have memories for life.

It was reported that one of our coaches did not receive a game card with the officials' names listed. With the introduction of computer software, these cards have gone from a hand-written 3x5 index card to cards printed in color with team logos today. Whatever you use, the head coaches need to be given the card prior to the start of the game, listing all the officials and their positions. They are our customers, and we want them to know who is officiating.

We had a play last week where the reverse goal line was involved. Team A had the ball on the A-1. A running play stopped very close to the goal line. The wing officials pinched down. It looked good on video, but they came in with differing opinions. One had the ball in the end zone for a safety, while the other had it out of the end zone. After a discussion, they ruled the ball down outside of the end zone. On these types of plays, the more we talk the less credibility we have. When in doubt, there is no safety. If there are differing opinions, go with the philosophy. Make a team EARN a safety, without any doubt.

We had a game on Saturday that was stopped 27 times for equipment violations. I discussed this with the coach, who said he has had issues with his uniform manufacturer. With this said, let’s begin enforcing these rules consistently by allowing the player to participate in the play and then send him off after the play. Stopping the game to send a student-athlete off interrupts the flow of the game, including any momentum of the opposing team, unfairly. Officials were correct by walking around during pregame and informing the players about the uniform issues. Never bother the head coach before game. Go to the trainers, equipment people, or assistant coaches.

Remember, if the ball is touched behind the line of scrimmage, the ball has not “crossed the neutral zone.” Therefore, we cannot have pass interference (offensive or defensive) (Rule 7-3-8-a) or ineligible receiver downfield (Rule 7-3-10) if a ball is tipped behind the line. Any official who sees the touching needs to step up when there is a flag on the play for one of these fouls. If you’re not sure of the foul being called, make sure you get in there and listen so you can give information. If you don’t inform the officials before the Referee begins his announcement, then wait until he is finished, and inform him of your knowledge of the tipped pass. Get it right! The best way to do this is to see the flag, and immediately go to the calling official to let the official know the ball was touched behind the line. Be a crew saver!

The Back Judge approves all game balls prior to the game. If a team presents a “kicking ball,” it must be the same as the other balls. If you can kick it, you can pass it! If you have a ball that the team requests to use as the kicking ball, use it for the next series by that team. That will tell you quickly whether or not the quarterback is good with it. Remember, the ball must be new or nearly new and must have pebble-grained leather. (Rule 1-3-1)

I was able to attend one of our games on Saturday and was impressed with game management and fans. It was just a great atmosphere. Two of the better teams played their hearts out with fans in the stands. It was a fantastic representation of California community college football. We had a situation, however, in which officials called a foul for a blindside block on the player who was blindside blocked. I understand things happen fast, but officials need to take time to process what you see. This could be the game-deciding call. The incorrect ruling was not recognized until the coach was studying the video on Sunday morning. It is hard to defend officials when this happens. In essence, it was a 30-yard penalty against the wrong team!

In order to have an illegal block below the waist, the person being blocked, offense or defense, must have one or both feet on the ground. (Rule 2-3-2-a) If both feet are in the air, the block is not below the waist. The official calling the foul is focused on the illegal block, and might need help on that part of the rule. If you see it, step up and bring that information to the table.

For the time after the extra point and prior to the kick off, try to keep it simple. Instruct the clock operator to set the play clock at 25 seconds and start it on the Referee’s ready-for-play signal. Make sure the kickers know they can look at the play clock if they don’t know whether the Referee has whistled the ready-for-play. We can accomplish this in one minute if we’re all on the same page. (Rule 3-3-7-h)

We had an on-field mistake late in a game. It should have been defensive offside (DOF). It was 4th and 3 at the B-14 late in the game. The coach was very understanding that mistakes can be made, but he did have a word of wisdom that I think we could all learn from. “Officials should be more alert on fourth and short in hard counts and QB hands movement.” Somehow, there were no flags on the play, but there were whistles. The crew decided on a do-over. I can’t defend this.

Want to be a better football official at this level? Think about the following points:
· Be decisive and understanding, especially with players and coaches.
· Keep your composure.
· Demonstrate a lot of common sense.
· Learn to resolve conflict.
· Do not promote yourself. Let your actions show how good you are.
· Be a good listener.
· Help other officials. Be a good crewmate.
· Have a real passion for the game (be obsessed).
· Know the rules and the purpose behind them (be the “go-to” official for the Referee).

“I eat football. I sleep football. I breathe football. I am not mad, I am just passionate” - Thierry Henry

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations