Get Ready for Fall 2021

From: "Rich Kollen" -
Subject: SCCFOA
Date: Friday, November 5, 2021



Over the past 15 years, accountability in officiating has increased tremendously due to the increased use, and quality, of video. Coaches have used video for many years to evaluate player performance. My first experience was with 16 mm, black-and-white coaching tapes shown by a projector on a wall. Now, with affordable equipment, coaches have access to color HD video immediately – although these may not be used by coaches or for coaching purposes at any time during the game or between periods, and computers/tablets are not allowed in the coaching booth. (Rule 1-4-11-a). Upstart video exchange companies started in 2006 to make the process so much easier. Then the internet came along and made the process even easier. There was no more meeting your next opponent on Sunday to exchange videos. With cell phones and iPads, now people in the stands can take extremely good video and share plays immediately. HUDL is the software sharing program used by community colleges in the state of California. The official’s association pays a fee of $800.00 annually to HUDL, giving officials access to the games they officiated. A game played Saturday night can be viewed by the officials on Sunday. Coaches are going to evaluate calls and send them to me, which helps officials improve. The game video can be clipped into individual plays and emailed to others, all in order to improve officials’ performances on the field. The days when an official is asked what they saw on a play and the official gives a legitimate answer of “I didn’t see it” are over. The video is so good, you can see where their eyes are looking. This tool is invaluable to our training program, and you should each utilize it to the full potential.

Recently, there’s been a lot of internet chatter on the 108-0 high school game. We also had a 77-0 community college game last weekend. I’ve been asked what officials can do in this situation. Do not give suggestions. Work with the home AD and the two head coaches and always follow the rules outlined in the NCAA rulebook on shortening games. Remember, the playing time of remaining periods may be shortened by the mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the Referee. (Rule 3-2-2-a). The rules do NOT permit you to utilize a running clock in any circumstance.

Each week, I read the reports from our observers. Last week, there was an interesting one. On 1st and goal, the chain crew kept the chains up with the forward stake in the end zone. On a “goal-to-go” situation, make sure they’re always laid down for safety and competitive reasons well out of bounds and away from the end zone. We are eight weeks into the season and a coach called to ask why we are winding the clock after a runner goes out of bounds. Remember, by NCAA rules, until INSIDE the last two minutes of each half, if a ball carrier goes out of bounds, the clock will stop, and then start on the ready. (Rule 3-3-2-e-3). We’ve encouraged our officials to wind the clock as soon as a new ball is ready to be put in place. When time isn’t a factor (i.e., early in a period), Referees should be winding the clock fairly quickly.

In our mechanics, the Back Judge is responsible for the play clock. When it hits double zero, reach for your flag and get the whistle in your mouth. If, by that time, the ball has not been snapped, kill the play and enforce the penalty. If, by that time, the ball is being snapped, let it go.

We have lots of opportunities to call holding by linemen. By philosophy, let’s be sure that the person doing the holding takes the opponent’s feet away. If it isn’t a takedown, and a step isn’t taken away, consider whether or not there is an advantage being gained. Call the MUST haves, not the CAN haves.

I would like to congratulate our coaches and players for a milestone this past weekend. For the first time in at least the last three years, we had ZERO targeting calls over all games. This is a huge testament to coaches teaching proper techniques and the players executing those techniques. It is on us to make this game as safe as we can, within the rules. Great job!

By rule, only a player in the game or the head coach can call a timeout during a game. (Rule 3-3-4). If the official is focused on the next play, and hears a timeout coming from the bench area, the official should grant the request. The head coach is responsible for assistant coaches requesting timeouts. Don’t expect the officials to make sure it is the head coach. We have all heard that we should never anticipate a call. However, you should always be anticipating the PLAY. Use your football IQ. On third and long, antipate a pass and know your key. Teams can surprise us, but if you watch enough football, you should be able to anticipate the next play on most downs.

A few years ago, the NCAA rules committee requested that officials blow a whistle to signal when the play is over. I know officials are concerned with inadvertent whistles, but this is the official mechanic. Coaches teach their players to continue until they hear a whistle. Although that isn’t always right, we know that is what is taught. In addition, using the whistle helps clean up dead-ball situations. So, I hate to keep harping on this, but we need a whistle after every play.

We had an interesting situation last weekend when officials were in goal line mechanics. The ball was snapped from the B-6, the ball was thrown parallel to the line of scrimmage and hit the ground. It was ruled correctly as a backward pass, recovered by the defense for a touchdown. (Rule 2-19-2-a). I reviewed the call and it was a backward pass, but we miscommunicated with the coach and explained to him that since we were in goal line mechanics, there wasn’t a good view. Most coaches don’t know what “goal line mechanics” means. Always stick with your decision, without excuses, If you rule the pass backward, tell the coach the pass was backwards, the ball remained live, and the recovering team can advance the ball.

As always, thank you for what you do for this great game and the enormous number of student-athletes in our community colleges. Safe travels and games this week!

“The objective of a referee is not to get mentioned. I tell a lot of young referees that not being mentioned is king. If you can achieve that, then it has been a pretty good game.” – Alan Lewis

Rich Kollen
Director of Football Operations