From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2008
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION
WEEK 7 BULLETIN
As you all probably know, we are getting into the time of the season in which players and coaches are sometimes tired and frustrated. This could result in trash-talking, late-hits and other problems. Each one of us must take the lead in attempting to prevent an excellent season from turning sour. The administrators and coaches have been very supportive of our officiating program and we must continue to improve during the second-half of the season.
Just an FYI. Here is the Division I mechanic for your position being taught nationwide (from the weekly email of Walt Anderson, Big 12 Supervisor): "We want your basic default position to be at 8 yards; not 10 and not 6. There are certainly many instances when you will need to adjust and I don't want to go into all those in this email, but a few are 3rd and 6 or if 10 yards puts you at the goal line. Too many of you are setting up consistently at 10 yards and we evaluated this extensively in the spring and that is too deep. Please adjust your position and start at 8 yards unless other situations dictate."
We are six weeks into the new rule of winding the clock when a player goes out of bounds (except for the last two minutes of each half). However, we are still having some problems. I believe that some of the problems occur because the flanks are giving the Referee the old arms-crossed signal when the ball goes out of bounds. Until we get better with this rule, I would like to see each official give the Referee a small signal, index finger in a 4 inch rotation, near the belt. The arms-crossed signal should only be used in the last two minutes of each half. Regardless, however, the Referees need to know the rule, and enforce it properly.
Scrimmage Kicks Substitution
We are having some late substitution issues on scrimmage kicks. In one instance, the punting team huddled late on the sideline, and then rushed onto the field. After the scrimmage kick, the crew huddled and called a foul on the offense for a delay of game. The kicking team re-kicked after a five-yard penalty. Instead of waiting until after the kick in such a situation, the Umpire should stand over the ball until the defense is ready. If the play clock expires before the defense has had a reasonable opportunity to get set, this should be penalized as a delay of game against the offense. Umpires and Referees, you are the key to correctly officiating this play. Please review this mechanic at your pregame conferences this week.
Silence Can Never Be Misquoted
Another communication issue last week: During an injury time-out, an official is talking with an assistant coach, as the player is being helped off the field. The official made the comment "he's a drama queen." The team doctor heard the comment, and expressed his concerns to the administration. I cannot defend such a comment, and the official has been instructed to issue a formal apology. When dealing with an injured player, use the following procedure: stay with the injured player only until a trainer or doctor arrives, and then get away and prepare for play to resume. Don't make any comments about any player, especially when he is injured.
In the past, I have suggested that head coaches not be bothered with equipment issues before the game. However, at the recent conference executive board meeting, the following procedure was approved: During the 45 minutes before the game, identify by number the players who are not properly equipped or have illegal equipment and give that list to the head coach before the game (note that all of the issues should be on one list. Don't keep going back to the head coach to tell him of "another problem"). Just make sure to do this as quickly as possible (don't give a coach a list of problems right at kickoff). Referees, please note on your game report if the equipment issues were corrected.
Kick Off Mechanics
There are numerous discussions on each official's keys during a free kick. Some officials have advocated watching the kickers others say to watch the receivers. I would suggest that you follow the SCCFOA mechanics. Regardless of what you decide, please discuss free kick mechanics and keys during your next pregame conference. Note that most of the illegal blocks seem to occur with the second wave of defenders from the 25-45 yard line.
If the Referee determines that an onside kick is possible, we need to have six officials "in the box." Discuss who goes where and each official's keys in your next pregame conference.
Starting this year, there is no longer a 5-yard facemask penalty. If a facemask or a helmet opening (including the earhole or back of the helmet) is pulled, twisted or turned, that is a 15-yard facemask penalty. If the player's head doesn't move, there is probably no penalty. Remember, call the BIG ones! One of the favorite things for a sideline to scream is for a facemask. Don't be intimidated into calling one unless the mask or helmet is pulled, twisted or turned. Just remember the purpose of the rule: safety.
There seems to be some confusion among the coaches and officials in what constitutes intentional grounding. The NCAA rule states that an eligible receiver must have a "reasonable opportunity to catch a pass." There is nothing in the rule that only requires a receiver to "be in the area." If the QB is under duress, and not outside the tackle box, he must throw the ball to a receiver who has a reasonable opportunity to catch it. If he is outside the tackle box, he can throw the ball away as long as the ball gets within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage (liberally construed). This is usually a delayed call because the Referee is staying with the QB throughout the pass and must protect him from any unnecessary action. The flanks must relay information to the Referee after the play is dead and let him know if there was a receiver in the area who had a "reasonable opportunity" to catch the pass or whether the ball was within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage if the QB was outside the tackle box.
Football officiating is a team game -- you're all members of the same crew.
The game is either well-officiated or poorly-officiated.
Good luck this week!
Director of Football Operations
California Community College Athletic Association