Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009



As we enter the seventh week of the season, I can only think about how lucky I am to be a part of California community college football. I remember growing up near Veteran's Stadium in Long Beach and thinking it was enormous. I remember seeing the lights on Friday and Saturday nights during the fall, and I always hoped to play there someday. I remember going to the Junior Rose Bowl game when Long Beach City College played University of Texas-Tyler in front of 50,000 people. Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of playing there. However, to this day, I remember officiating my first community college game there in 1976 (Long Beach City College vs. Santa Monica). The game, athletes, coaches, and the concept of community college athletics have changed greatly over the years, mostly for the better. One thing, however, has not changed. Nowhere else in the country does a student-athlete have a greater opportunity to improve in academics and football in the hopes of transferring to a four-year college or university. A quick glance at the NFL record books and rosters will reveal many names that came into their own on the football fields of California’s community colleges. I hope everyone reading this takes pride in the part you play in community college athletics.

Videos are starting to come in from coaches and officials and a new training video will be produced soon. In reviewing the videos, I have seen some issues that need to be addressed. The best way to improve is to continue training, self-evaluating and seeking your peers’ constructive criticism. That said, I am in a never-ending search for officiating perfection. Remember, if you ask most Division I and NFL officials, they’ll tell you that community college football is the toughest level to officiate. It is a great training ground for everyone.

Referees: Signal the timer to start the 20-minute halftime clock, and use common sense. If one team has a longer walk to the locker room, delay the start until the teams clear the field for halftime. Don’t cheat a visiting team who may have a long walk.

On a punt return, a returner waived his hand below his waist than picked up the ball and began to run. The officials correctly whistled the ball dead. The coach called to ask about the call, and he suggested that this was the first time he had seen this called. Hopefully he was mistaken. Remember, ANY waiving signal kills the play once the ball is caught or recovered. This shouldn’t be confused with a fair catch signal, which kills the play AND provides the returner with protection. Any waiving signal that is not a fair catch signal does not provide protection to the returner; but once the returners pick it up, the ball is dead. If the returner is waiving for people to get away from the ball, the kickers will relax. He is not allowed to take advantage of that relaxation. However, remember that a returner can raise an arm to shade his eyes from the sun. It is usually easy to tell the difference.

In discussions with various officials, there appears to be some inconsistency on which official has responsibility for ruling on a forward or backward pass. Our mechanics have the HL staying on the LOS at the snap (this could change next year); however the LJ must rule on forward or backward passes sideline-to-sideline. If the LJ wants to punch back, fine. However, no punch is needed, just have no whistle. Whichever mechanic you use, be consistent, and talk about it in pre-game.

We need to better communicate on false starts. Remember, if a B player moves into the neutral zone causing a “threatened” A player to react, it should be blown dead and B should be penalized. Who is “threatened”? If the B player lines up directly across from an A player, that A player and the two adjacent A linemen. If the B player is in a gap, the two A lineman adjacent to the gap. Don’t get too picky. If B jumps, and it is clear that an A player near the B player reacts, call it on the defense.

One of the most difficult decisions we have is the catch/no catch. The key is to rule on control and possession of the football: the ball is secured within the frame of the receiver’s body or arms and is no longer moving. The receiver must then “commit a football act,” such as turning up field and running with the ball (a couple steps). When ruling on a play in which the receiver goes to the ground in the act of making the catch, to complete a catch, the ball must not be moving when the receiver or the ball contacts the ground. Discuss this at your next pre-game. When in doubt, rule incomplete rather than catch and fumble.

Although we live in Southern California, it is the time of the year that you need to bring a long sleeve shirt. On a chilly night last week, six members of the crew wanted to wear long sleeves. One official did not bring his long sleeves. This shouldn’t happen at this level.

Remember the differences between NFHS and NCAA rules on missed field goal attempts. In our games (NCAA rules), a missed field goal attempt from on or inside the 20-yard line (spot of the snap) results in the ball being placed anywhere along the 20-yard line, at the discretion of the team next putting the ball in play. A missed field goal attempt from outside the 20-yard line is next put in play at the previous spot (no discretion of the team).

I received a video of a game in which an important DPI was missed by the crew. We had an observer at the game, who questioned the crew about coverage. There were excuses by everyone, but no one stepped up to save the crew. On important calls like DPI, be a crew saver if you see it. When the ball is in the air, most of the officials should switch their coverage to the intended receiver. There is no excuse for failing to step up.

Flanks: we are failing to enforce the rules of a lineman. Linemen must be on the LOS. It may not seem like much, but there is a BIG advantage on passing downs and scrimmage kicks to have tackles 2 yards off the LOS. When you first see it, warn the player and the head coach. Next time you see it, the flag won’t be a surprise. Get this call early in the game, and the players and coaches will adjust.

Late in a game, a runner crossed the goal line at the pylon. The SJ signaled TD. However, the HL had the player stepping out on the three. Remember our mechanics. The signaling official should make eye contact with the sideline official to ensure that the runner did not step out of bounds. In this situation, the crew correctly took the TD away but lost all credibility after an otherwise well-officiated game. The coaches were concerned about what happened. In a situation like this, the Referee should spend time with both coaches so that they fully understand. Discuss mechanics during your pre-game this week so this doesn’t happen. Also discuss the location of the ball when a runner goes out of bounds. I am thinking that if the runner goes out of bounds at the 1½ yard line, it is possible that the ball was over the goal line, and the two officials should come together to rule. Anything outside this is probably out of bounds.

Thanks for your hard work and dedication to improvement.

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association

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