From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, October 24, 2014
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2014 WEEKLY BULLETIN #8
Every season, officials across the country hear the age-old complaint from coaches: "Be Consistent!" More times than not, the coach is really saying, "I didn't like your call." Consistency starts with each official and each crew and goes beyond knowing the rules and mechanics. To me, consistency starts when you have developed a philosophy based on rules knowledge and experience. Waiting for it to happen, and then trying to judge it, puts consistency on shaky ground. It almost becomes a coin toss each time a play happens on the field. One of our association goals since we have gone to crews is getting more consistency. Coaches and players expect a consistently called game from crew to crew and week to week. Consistency is a tough skill to master, but one that should be a primary goal of each official, crew, and the conference.
All officials must know the correct number of timeouts remaining for each team, and the deep flanks must communicate this with the coaches during every timeout. Last week, there was a game where the crew lost all credibility due to a miscommunication of the correct number of timeouts remaining in the first half. The team on defense was told the offense was out of timeouts. When the next play ended at the two-yard line, the officials granted another timeout with two seconds on the clock. I understand the coach's frustration. It is tough for me to defend this crew. The game card is there for a reason. Use it!
A block in the back foul is a big call with a big penalty. In your next pregame, discuss the elements needed for the correct call. Many legal side blocks are being called blocks in the back. Make sure you see the whole block before making the call. If you THINK there's a foul, there is no foul. If you're sure, then there's a foul. Remember, if one hand is on the number and the other hand is on the side, and the initial force is on the number, it is a block in the back. If the force is on the side, it is not a foul. If the blocker is in "chase mode," then all action must be on the side.
Similarly, holding fouls are big penalties. Remember, prior to calling a defensive hold, that defensive players may use hands and arms to push, PULL, ward off or lift offensive players when attempting to reach the runner (Rule 9-3-4-a). In addition, defensive players may use hands and arms to push, PULL, ward off or lift offensive players obviously attempting to block them (Rule 9-3-4-c). If the defensive player is attempting to get to the runner or the ball, or is warding off a blocker, there is no defensive holding.
From a Referee's weekly report, one of our officials arrived 30 minutes late. The Referee called this official after 15 minutes, and the official reported that there had been an accident on the freeway, which caused a traffic jam. Things happen, but we need to factor in traffic time when we determine our departure time for the game. This is Southern California! If you just moved here, let me give you a heads-up: traffic is really bad! Regardless of the timing, this official arrived in a tank top, gym shorts, and flip flops. This is unacceptable at this level. I haven't instituted a dress code, because I expect everyone to be professional about this job. If I have to institute a dress code, I will. Please don't make that necessary.
Referees, remember Rule 6-3-10-d. A piece of tape or paper cannot be used to indicate where the holder should spot the ball. Please don't allow a team to do this. I know that the rulebook provides for a five yard penalty. Do not call a foul; just don't allow them to do it.
Remember if the ball is tipped behind the line of scrimmage we cannot have DPI, OPI, or IDP (ineligible receiver downfield). 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 what the flag is for, 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 done, and inform him of your knowledge of the tipped pass. Get it right!
Tight ends (on the end of the line, and not covered up) are permitted to put their hand on the ground (three-point stance), and then lift up and shift to another position. The shift must be done smoothly, and not simulate the snap or cause a reasonable reaction by the defense. If the end is covered by a wide receiver on the line of scrimmage, he then becomes a restricted lineman (Rule 2-27-4-c). If he is restricted, then he may not move his hand (Rule 7-1-2-b-3).
A player who is making an attempt to catch a kick must be afforded the unimpeded opportunity to complete the catch (Rule 5-4-1-a). This restriction ends when the receiver CATCHES the kick, not when he TOUCHES the kick. He must be afforded the opportunity to complete his catch. Know the difference between touching and catching. When in question, it is a foul.
The SCFA policy is that each team supply "ball personnel" on their side of the field. Ball personnel mechanics became an interesting discussion with the Referees this week. There is an approved mechanic similar to what major college conferences use, but it appears that the training of ball personnel has not been happening regularly. Please make sure you regularly and mechanically instruct the ball personnel before your games.
In addition, with respect to the balls, make sure that the Back Judge approves all balls to be used in the game 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 QB is good with it.
Thank you for all you do for this great game. Travel safe!
"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points."
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association