San Diego County Football Officials Association Memo
To: Crew Chiefs, Head Coaches, and Athletic Directors
CC: SDCFOA Instructors & Staff
From: Steve Coover, Instructional Chair SDCFOA
Re: Weekly Bulletin #6
Youth and Freshman Referees – Great Job!
Instructors have asked the 2nd year class if they experienced any feed-back issues with the white hats that they have been working with this year. The response was very positive. They agreed overwhelmingly that the experienced guys have been friendly, cooperative and were willing to spend time with them with suggestions and direction on how to become a better official. It is widely understood that the refs that work with the 1st and 2nd year guys are an extension of the educational program, and it seems that this is happening! Great news and good job, youth and freshman referees.
Video Technology in the Press Box
An assistant coach from the press box comes up to the crew at half time to show them video from his cell phone of the other team’s press box coaches using video replay to adjust their players during the game. The crew decides to call the coaches together before the 2nd half so that they both would hear the same discussion. The referee explained to them what had been reported and the other coach seemed concerned and went immediately to the press box to investigate for himself. There were no further problems. Great judgment by the crew chief in this situation. The rule states “Communication devices … including but not limited to cell phones, still photographs, film, analog or digital video and/or internet depictions, shall not be used for coaching purposes during the game or between periods.”
Be prepared as we are now entering league play and teams in certain leagues (like the Pacific League) and when teams are in the same CIF division, may require/request OT. Review the rules for OT and be prepared to work it. Overtime is a time for the teams to be at their best, we must be at our best as well!
Some crews are asking to use pink whistles during the month of October in honor of Cancer Awareness Month. This is acceptable and encouraged as long as the whole crew is united and using the same color whistles.
Mechanics on the QB Sneak
When a QB goes into the pile on a sneak play, it is sometimes impossible for the flanks to determine progress (for sure). In almost every instance we get the progress correct but we’ve had two plays in the last two weeks go for TDs out of these piles. After reviewing the video it appears that at some point in those piles the progress of the runner is stopped, but who can see the runner and make that determination? I suggest that the referee and the umpire can also help with that call in an emergency, even though it is tough to see progress from in front or behind. Remember, short yardage plays where a team intentionally lines up players in the backfield who are in a position to subsequently grab and push the runner forward can/should result in an “Aiding the Runner” foul. Otherwise, general pushing of the pile forward in an attempt to move it forward by any player is not considered a foul. We must be convinced that the intent of the formation and player conduct is intentional “Aiding the Runner” not just pushing into the pile.
Proper Enforcement Spot
Offense snaps the ball at their own 20 yard line. The QB, who is in shotgun, attempts to hand off to the running back at the 13 yard line where the ball is fumbled backwards to the 3 yard line where the defense recovers the ball. BUT, during the fumble, a defensive player grabs and yanks an offensive linesman’s facemask. Obviously the defense does not get the ball as they fouled prior to gaining possession of the ball (“clean hands”). But what is the proper enforcement spot? A loose ball play (and this is one) is action during a fumble made by the offense from in or behind the neutral zone and prior to a change of team possession. The enforcement spot for a loose ball play is the previous spot and, in this case, a 15 yard march off.
25 Second Clock Play Clock
Most times we are a little generous with the play clock as the high school coaches and players do not have the visual play clocks in each end zone to help them manage the game. BUT, as the game gets down to the end of each half of football, the play clock needs to be strictly enforced (assuming the score is not grossly lopsided). Reminder, failing to provide proper play clock timing can get a crew in a lot of trouble!
I must remind officials to keep any critical comments out of reach of fans, players and coaches. We have a story of two officials waiting for their game to start by watching a pop warner game that was being played on the side field. Unfortunately, the head coach of one of that night’s game was standing within earshot of their discussion of another head coach’s misconduct. The head coach immediately surmised that the comments were about him and shared his displeasure with the officials. It took several attempts before the coach finally understood that the discussion was about someone else. The lesson here is to keep all critical comments well out of range of any potential fans, players or coaches. Be a professional…..at all times.
This Doesn’t Help
I recently heard of a situation where the crew chief of a pop warner football game overrode the decision of one of a less experienced official on a judgment call. Four or five plays later the flank official, after discussing the call with the coach on his sideline, grants a time out and escorts the coach out on the field to discuss the previous judgment call. Apparently the flank official reasoned with the coach and actually came out as a witness for the coach putting the referee in a very uncomfortable situation. How could this have been handled differently? Sometimes you have to let young officials live/and die with their calls (even if you suspect something is wrong). Other times it’s best to step in! (When you have witnessed the error yourself) Then, discuss the play after the game…not with the coach. Our goal is to improve, not prove ourselves right!