SAN DIEGO COUNTY FOOTBALL OFFICIALS ASSOCIATION
THE WEEKLY BULL – August 28, 2019
No Meeting This Week – No meetings of any kind. Week off from a Wednesday meeting, but that doesn’t eliminate the need to study a particular rule this week (maybe review your test and see where you may have misread or got confused!). Also take the time to view the instructional video taken from this past week’s games. Then, if you’re on a crew, you have the opportunity to review your film and get even better during week 2!
Improvement Week #1 To Week #2 – Work hard this week! Get involved with your crew. Phone a member or members of your crew to discuss opportunities to improve based upon your crew’s evaluation and the review of the film. The improvement from week #1 to week #2 is the most dramatic all season for all three teams…(players, coaches, and officials).
Adopt a Crew or a School Site – If you’re not on the field, there is no better way to improve your mechanics than to watch a veteran crew demonstrate them. I highly advise anyone newer official to either adopt a crew on Friday nights, or go to your neighborhood high school and observe the different crews come through each week. You can even get involved by keeping the foul report for the crew! Introduce yourself to the crew beforehand in the locker room and offer your services.
Visitors at Games – If you are visiting a game and observing a crew do not follow the chain crew and head linesman through the team box. Stay out of any team box area and do not communicate with coaches or game administrators. Please observe the game from the stands, or if allowed on the field, from the sideline outside the team box and outside of the white restricted area or dashed restraining line. If you want to change ends of the field, walk around the team box.
The Clock – When we worked our scrimmage we didn’t have the clock to worry about. Week #1 we did. How did we do? Several clock operators needed to be watched very closely…sorry but this is how it is in high school football at times, so it is up to the crew to keep the game time accurate. How did you do with the 40/25 Second Play Clock? Either or both of these might be opportunities for improvement week #2. Following the crew evaluation process, establish clear crew goal(s) for week #2.
Clock Situation – End of the game when the offense who is ahead and trying to run out the clock, is penalized for a live ball illegal motion foul. The clock does not stop after the staccato whistle so the crew has to re-set the game clock. The defense declines the penalty. 40 or 25 second play clock? Answer – We’ve stopped the game clock to administer a penalty – 25-second play clock.
Changes of Possession – Please sell all sudden changes of possession with “strong” but not “overly showy” signals. Stop the clock with a “big” signal followed by a strong signal for the new direction of play.
Instructional Video This Week – There are some important lessons demonstrated in this week’s instructional video. Please set aside some time to view it and discuss those relevant plays as a crew.
Penalty Enforcement Reminders – If it is encroachment or FST, move quickly toward the referee with the preliminary signal and communicate the number. Umpire hustle to the ball and prepare to walk off with the HL. If there are two flags for the same foul, the officials should have a brief confirmation of the foul, then .the flags should be moved to the same spot (on top of one-another). One official reports to referee (you can use preliminary signals to communicate foul then provide the number. Umpire have the ball in hand and following confirmation of the foul, yardage, and direction, look to HL and immediately begin to march off the penalty. The ball should be placed before the referee has finished his signaling, and has moved to his new position to whistle the 25-second ready for play.
Foul on the Final Play of the Game – If this is an accepted live ball foul and the clock has run out, inform both coaches (hopefully by the flank officials) that there will be one more untimed down (final play). If the live ball foul is declined, the signal that the penalty has been declined as the umpire provides you with the game ball so you can immediately hold it overhead signaling the end of the game. End strong!
Fouls by the Opponent of the Scoring Team – Have a crew member (or the referee) do a quick pre-game review of rules 8-2-2; 8-2-3; 8-2-4; and 8-2-5.
Time Outs, Quarter Changes, and Period Between PAT and Kickoff – We are doing better with our tempo here. Observers are timing these pauses in the game and we’re finding that some crews are not hustling to get the ball back in play. The standard is one minute from the end of the signal for time out, end of quarter, or successful/or not PAT to the ready-for-play signal. Flanks, it all rests on your work to get your teams out. Be active and assertive.
Line Judge – You are responsible for the forward stake and the dead ball spot relative to a first down. If it is close to the front stake, give accurate, generous spot and declare it a first down. Or if accurate, make it clearly short. Line Judge must look across and determine if it is the next down or a first down. Be vocal with the referee and crew. Be loud and signal appropriately (next down or hand across chest pointing first down) If you need more time to make a decision yell out “close, close, close.” Then decide. A measurement is always an option, but not our first option! I’m offering this as a confirmation of what the observers are seeing…not as a criticism. LJs are doing a GREAT JOB with this!
Referees – Give strong, quick signals on all fouls (only one signal for each foul). I see referees getting into discussions with crew members and the fans don’t have a clue what’s going on. After the quick communication with the calling official (you may need to also get the accept/decline info from coach), give your strong signal(s), provide instructions to umpire, turn and jog to the exact location you will be standing at the start of the next play. Then wind and/or hack. Optics, optics, optics!
Umpires – You spot the ball 99% of the time. Flanks get involved in relaying the ball to the umpire. Referee should not spot the ball. Referees stay back.
Back Judges – Penalty assessed on kick off. Do not march off penalty. Do not signal penalty and then march it off. Go directly to the spot where the ball is to be kicked. Put the ball on the ground. Signal foul from this location. Hand ball to the kicker (don’t toss it).
Logging Fouls – I observed one crew do the above list at halftime, including the list of fouls. It was a remarkably strong halftime review and analysis. Without the list of fouls their halftime debrief would have been 50% less effective. Integrate the listing of fouls into your crew’s routine.
Lightening - From the NFHS Rule Book – From the back of the Rule Book – Include game administration in any decision making:
- When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning strike is seen, the thunderstorm is close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play and take shelter immediately.
- Thirty minute rule. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior to resuming play.
- Any subsequent thunder or lightning after the beginning of the 30 minute count, reset the clock and another 30 minute count should begin.
California State Mercy Rule - At the conclusion of the third quarter or any point thereafter, if there is a point differential of 35 or more points, a running clock shall be instituted for the remainder of the game regardless of the score. The game clock shall stop only for a score, a free kick following a fair catch or awarded fair catch, a charged team timeout, a coach-referee conference or an official’s timeout. This bylaw applies to all levels of play.
Overtime Rules – Review these rules each week! We’re posting it up on our website at www.sdcfoa.org.
Locker Rooms – Reminder, leave them better than when you arrived. We are visitors and the PE teachers appreciate it if we keep it clean. Do not use any items in the locker room for you own purposes. If there is food or water items in the offices, they are not for your use. Have a crew member responsible for hydration!