Kollen Bulletin

From: "Rich Kollen" - dayofgame@aol.com
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Friday, October 22, 2010



After all the media coverage centered on the Rutgers player paralyzed last week and the NFL imposing a fine system for hits on defenseless players, we need to continue to be alert to these types of fouls. The rule is simple: intentionally targeting a defenseless player above the shoulders is a foul. Defenseless players include receivers during and immediately after a catch, punt returners, quarterbacks and players away from the action of the play. Thanks to the training that our athletes receive from our coaches and the effect of the officials making these calls, this has not been too much of a problem. Remember, when in doubt on these types of calls, it is a foul.

George Demetriou from Colorado Spring writes for Referee magazine. In a recent article, he identifies four different personality traits in football officials as it relates to calling fouls. The following is a summary. Please see which category you feel you fall into:
-Psychic: The official claims the ability to perceive fouls hidden from everyone else. He imagines fouls that did not happen. Never seen a foul he did not like.
-Omnipresent: This official has eyes all over the field, does not understand areas of responsibility, and has no respect for his crewmates' ability and judgment. His roving eyes call things from a great distance.
-Influence: This official seems to succumb to coaches' squawking, finding fouls to appease his sideline. This trait is primarily seen in younger officials, but can be found in veterans.
-See no evil: this official is surprised by every opportunity to make a call. He does not have the ability to pull the trigger but would rather say "I did not see what happened."
Self-evaluate your traits. I hope you understand what makes a well-rounded official who understands the role of a football official.

Unsportsmanlike. This past weekend, there were many penalties called, and not just normal snap violations, holding, etc. The penalties that concern Commissioner Jim Sartoris and me are dead-ball unsportsmanlike fouls for celebrations, trash talking, and taunting. We understand that, at this time of the season, games are very competitive; however, this aspect of the game needs to be cleaned up. I will relay a comment made by LA Southwest head coach, Henry Washington, to all of the coaches at a summer coaches' meeting a few summers ago: "Gentlemen, we cannot expect officials to clean up these actions on Saturday! We, as coaches, must do this Monday-Friday on the practice field." Both coaches and officials need to work on this issue. Neither group can do it alone.

Cancellations. You have to understand that much time is spent putting together our 14 crews each week. Even more time is spent putting together the non-crew assignments. We first consider the strengths and weaknesses and geographical location of each official. We then attempt to make assignments for each game based on the type of game and crew compatibility. Last week between noon on Friday and 10 AM Saturday, five officials called to cancel games for that Saturday. This is unacceptable and unprofessional and effects crew chemistry and strength. Car breakdowns and minor injuries are no excuse. You must understand that, if this becomes a pattern with a specific official, that official will see a significant decrease in assignments in the coming years.

Silence is Golden. I have had three calls from coaches concerning reported conversions between officials in the locker room and on the field before games talking about a coachÕs conduct and personality. This practice needs to stop now! Coaches read my emails each week where I attempt to have them understand our duties as officials. Officials must understand the pressure coaches are under to lead their team, control players, parents and assistants. Professionalism means we do not talk about anyone behind their back.

Sideline Plays. Referees and back judges need to do a better job cleaning up on running plays near the sidelines. When players go out-of-bounds near a team bench, we must have four officials there to protect the players. This will help with late hits in those situations. Along those same lines: flanks, just because you are getting a spot does not mean you should turn your back on the players out-of-bounds. You can hold your spot AND be facing the bench to watch players. If there is a problem, drop a bean bag and get into the bench to take care of it. WeÕre less concerned with the spot if there is a fight starting that could be stopped.

End of Game. We need to remember that if a touchdown is scored as time expires, and the score differential is three or more points, we do not need to have a try down. The game is over. Nothing good can come from allowing the try.

Kickoffs. On kickoffs we have two different planes to consider when calling offside. One is the "soft plane." Used for normal deep kickoffs, we need to see the player's entire body break the plane to have offside. The other is the "hard plane." This is used for onside kicks, where no part of an A player may break the plane prior to the kick. Please discuss this and onside kickoff coverage at your next pregame.

Coach Communications. During the game, officials need to communicate with head coaches in a professional and courteous manner. You must learn to be a calming influence when a coach is upset and wants an answer. If you are an introvert, you must learn to look the coach in the eye and just be honest and sincere. If you do not know the answer, simply tell the coach that you will find out at the next opportunity. If you tell him that, DO IT! Remember, there are six other officials depending on you to communicate with the coach. Do it. If you do so professionally and courteously, you help the rest of the crew.

Talk to Players. If you talk to a player to warn him about anything, make sure to alert the sideline that you have talked to him. If you need to take further action, it will not come as a surprise to the coaches.

On a positive note, I am getting far more positive evaluations from our observers and coaches than negative. I truly know each official gives it 100% each game. Unfortunately, officiating is the only job in which we are expected to start out perfect and get better each week. Keep up the good work. Thank you for your dedication to our colleges and the student-athletes. I will be out-of-town next week attending California Community College Athletic Association meeting, so there will not be a bulletin.

It is easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner. What you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not yet a winner. - Vince Lombardi

Rich Kollen Director of Football Operations

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations

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