From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2012
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2012 WEEKLY BULLETIN #7
If you have recently watched any NFL games, you are well-aware that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Along with the NFL, we support all efforts to fight this terrible disease. In that vein, the teams are allowed to wear pink apparel, provided that such apparel is not governed by the rules. Examples include pink shoes, wrist bands and gloves. If the rules govern what color a piece of equipment may be, however, we cannot diverge from the rules. Examples: towels must be white (Rule 1-4-6-a) and eye shade must be solid black with no words, numbers, logos or other symbols (Rule 1-4-6-e). In addition, although socks could be pink, they must be identical in color and design among all team members (Rule 1-4-4-h). Don't go overboard in enforcement, and use common sense, but let's not forget the rules.
As you all know, our coaches use a variety of ways to address officials on the sidelines. Some are funny, some are animated, some are aggressive. However, when a coach crosses the line, the officials must deal with it. Any profanity directed at an official should lead to a warning and then followed-up with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Our coaches have all signed the California Community College Football Coaches Association Code of Conduct, and this is the time of year we need to enforce it.
In one play last week, the passer was scrambling and ran up to the line of scrimmage. His entire body was beyond the neutral zone except his left foot when he threw a forward pass. The Line Judge correctly ruled this to be a legal pass. It certainly looked like a foul, but kudos to the Line Judge for knowing the rule, being in position and ruling properly. (Rule 7-3-2-a)
On the opening kickoff, the Back Judge is dead-ball officiating as he witnesses two players testing the durability and strength of their helmets on each other. This could have drawn a flag, but I commend the Back Judge on his judgment for opting to warn these players rather than starting the game on the wrong foot.
SCCFOA philosophy of the week: When in doubt on whether a passer has passed or fumbled the ball, we will rule incomplete forward pass.
Several teams are using shovel pass plays. The quarterback takes the snap in shotgun formation, and shovels the ball forward (or taps or pushes it) to the receiver in motion in front of him. If you haven't seen this play, do not be surprised by it. If it is not caught, it may appear to be a fumble. However, this should be properly ruled as an incomplete forward pass. Be ready for it!
Remember that a passer who has been outside the tackle box may throw the ball away if it crosses the neutral zone extended. (Rule 7-3-2-h exception) However, remember also that only the player who receives the snap may take advantage of this rule. If the quarterback muffs the snap, another player may recover the snap and throw the ball away, if outside the tackle box. A muffed snap has not yet been "received." However, do not forget that, if a passer wants to conserve time, he must throw the ball directly to the ground immediately after controlling the ball, and prior to the ball touching the ground. (Rule 7-3-2-e)
In a game last week, the defensive captain shouts "shift-shift-shift" during the quarterback's cadence. This led to a few false starts. The coach was upset because the defense never shifted, despite the instructions of the captain. This was clearly designed to cause a false start. Umpires, this is your call. Please start with a warning, and then penalize repeated occurrences with a delay of game. (Rule 7-1-5-a-3)
For some reason, we have gotten away from all officials giving the time-out signal after 4th down plays, players going out of bounds, penalties, etc. This mechanic is especially important at the community college level because many of our clock operators are inexperienced. Please make sure to use this mechanic this weekend.
I received an email from a crew who reported that a trainer refused to tape an official before the game. I checked with Brian Cable (Cerritos College) who represents athletic trainers on state issues. He will be looking into the situation. As we all know, our colleges are facing reduced budgets. It is not a good excuse, but I would suggest that any officials who need to be taped before a game bring their own tape.
Illegal helmet contact: I have seen too many penalties called when a ball-carrier dips his head to avoid a tackle, and contact occurs with the tackler's helmet. Although a player using the crown of his helmet to punish an opponent is a personal foul (Rule 9-1-3), if contact occurs because one or both players dip their helmet just prior to a tackle, not in an attempt to punish the opponent, this should not be ruled a foul. Don't forget that runners and tacklers are not defenseless players.
Let's remember the rule on ineligible players downfield. (Rule 7-3-10) An ineligible receiver must be more than three yards beyond the neutral zone when a forward pass that crosses the neutral zone has been released. The philosophy is the same as a passer being beyond the neutral zone. The player's entire body must be more than three yards beyond the neutral zone. Remember that this restriction ends as soon as the ball leaves the passer's hand, not when it actually crosses the line of scrimmage. Don't nitpick this. When in doubt, the player was not downfield.
Finally, I suggest that each official acknowledge their weaknesses by writing them down. Look at them as you prepare for your game, and work on them each week. This list can and should have items added and removed from it each week. Every one of us has weaknesses and things we need to improve upon. Not being able to admit your mistakes is a sign of arrogance or complacency. Either of these things can torpedo your officiating career. Similarly, step up and admit mistakes when they are identified by fellow officials, evaluators, or yourselves. There is no need to try to justify every call/non-call you've ever made. We all make mistakes. If you've worked a perfect game, I suggest you quit now, while you're ahead. I've been officiating/supervising football for many decades now, and I have yet to see a perfectly officiated game.
Good luck this week!
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association