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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 01:53pm
MJT MJT is offline
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Location: Alton, Iowa
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Presnap routines

I am starting a new thread in regards to the thread "any advice for a rookie" where we were discussing presnap routines. I posted this 3 years ago around Christmas time, but only got one response as it was a slow time. Hopefully as we are getting very close to the start of our season we will get responses from all positions.

We did this for a pregame, and it was pretty good. We verbalized them to each other to make sure we knew what everyone else does, and had all our bases covered. It was good in asking some questions about how we would handle this or that. Answer the following for your position, then read mine and all others posted. Hopefully we will learn some things we may want to consider and confirm others that we are doing. I plan on comparing your responses to what my crew said they do, and making sure we are doing all we should.

What you do is make brief statements about what YOU think, for your position, presnap and during the play for the following situations. You can look at mine for a running play, then do yours for running plays, pass plays, punts, free kicks, FG's and trys before reading everyone else's.

Running plays: As the referee
1. look for chin straps of defensive players
2. declare ball RFP
3. jog back to 12-14 yards while looking for chin straps of offensive players
4. once a series, check for 5 lineman numbered 50-79
5. offense player count @ confirm with U. I count as they break the huddle, 4-4-3 and I am done in 2 seconds.
6. watch backs for FS
7. after snap – watch ball, runner, blocks around him until he reaches NZ
8. run parallel to LOS if sweep or option
9. continue to watch QB after handoff for illegal contact, then watch blocks around runner – I can help on key blocks on sweeps in front of runner or behind – whichever look like possible problems.

Pass plays:
1. def/off chin straps, RFP, lineman #’s, player count and confirm with U, watch backs for false start
2. watch for holding especially of tackles or anyone threatening the QB
3. keep my cushion and stay behind QB and roll with him
4. yell “balls away” and stay with QB until no longer any jeopardy
5. watch my U throw flag 30 yards when the H and B are within 5 yards of push off (this is a wisecrack of a OPI we had once.

Punts:
1. def/off chin straps, RFP, lineman #’s, player count and confirm with U, watch backs for false start
2. set up 2 yards in front of punter and very wide
3. see punter gets snap and does not have knee touch ground
4. watch for holding especially on rush ends or personal protector and yell “balls away”
5. see that punter does not get “run into” or “roughed”
6. see that ball is going downfield and if going OOB’s, watch and line up wings with OOB’s spot
7. move chains after making sure no flags are down

Free kicks:
1. count R and K players
2. watch BJ for onside kick signal
3. signal RFP
4. wind clock on touching by R
5. if deep kick, watch ball till release to U and L
6. then watch for BBW, BIB, clips, and holds by R

Field goals and trys:
1. def/off chin straps, RFP, lineman #’s, player count and confirm with U, watch backs for false start
2. set up on hash and on 14 yard line
3. watch for holding especially on anyone threatening blocking the kick, yell “balls away”
4. see that holder or kicker does not get “run into” or “roughed”
5. don’t blow whistle if FG gets blocked and try to stay ahead of runner on block return
6. turn and give good signal of “good” or “no good” to press box


Penalties:
1. go and meet official to meet him half way.
2. repeat the foul to the official (to ensure you've heard it correctly).
3. make sure you understand status of the ball for enforcement spot.
4. if it is a FS/Encroachment type of dead ball foul, no need to give prelim – just tell umpire/clear self/signal
5. come to a complete stop and give preliminary signal to press box.
6. put your back to offended team's bench so the captain can see his coach.
7. give captain the best choice of option first, if very obvious tell him “you want to back them up, right?”
8. if penalty is accepted, state the penalty and what the enforcement is to the umpire to see that he agrees.
9. L goes to end of enforcement spot, LJ stays at PS
9. clear yourself from players and come to a complete stop and give final signal to press box while U is enforcing penalty.
10. double check ball position as the H should be where the U ends up
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 08:39pm
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Excellent write up MJT...couple questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJT
Running plays: As the referee
5. offense player count @ confirm with U. I count as they break the huddle, 4-4-3 and I am done in 2 seconds.
How do you "confirm with U"? Is there a specific hand signal or verbal signal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJT
Free kicks:
1. count R and K players
From where you are on the field wouldn't it be easier for the linesman to count the K players and you to count the R players? As I understand it the ref is behind the last R player on kickoffs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJT
Free kicks:
5. if deep kick, watch ball till release to U and L
When would this be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJT
Free kicks:
6. then watch for BBW, BIB, clips, and holds by R
I got BIB=Block in Back...what's BBW?
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 09:04pm
MJT MJT is offline
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[QUOTE=ForensicRef]Excellent write up MJT...couple questions.



Quote:
How do you "confirm with U"? Is there a specific hand signal or verbal signal?
Kind of hard to describe and can be a little different from crew to crew, but most do closed fist above the shoulder and elbow down.



Quote:
From where you are on the field wouldn't it be easier for the linesman to count the K players and you to count the R players? As I understand it the ref is behind the last R player on kickoffs.
As the R, I count both and will not blow the RFP with out 11 on each side. If R is short, I'll tell one of their deep backs to get a count cuz I have only 10 and if it is K, my BJ should be doing the same.

Quote:
When would this be?
This is for a 5 man crew. It depends on if he goes straight upfield or towards a sideline first. When the return man gets closer to them, I release him and watch for blocks. I do not have him very long.

Quote:
I got BIB=Block in Back...what's BBW?
Block Below the Waist
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 09:11pm
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BBW = Block below the waist.



My pre-snap routine is the following for a normal scrimmage down: (I work as a Back Judge)


Confirm the down with at least one other official (visually and verbally). Adjust indicator accordingly. If it's after a penalty or first down, I'll relay clock status to other members of the crew.

Start moving (usually backing) to my position, 25 yards from the LOS.

Make sure the 25-second clock starts on the RFP.

If in my field of vision, mentally note the time on the game clock.

Count the defense. Count a second time if I have a chance before the offense breaks the huddle. Count a third time if I come up with a number different than 11.

As the offense breaks its huddle, signal to my S, then my F (extended thumbs-up in front of my body) that I have just counted 11 defensive players, usually along with verbally saying "11 [Color]" to each of them. (i.e. "11 Red") I do it at the break of the offense's huddle so that the 3 of us always know when to signal each other, and when to look for each other's signal.

Check the offensive formation, find all eligible receivers, and determine my key.

Move to a position (if necessary) to get a better view on action on and by my key, keeping the 25-second clock in my field of vision.

Read the defensive secondary to determine the type of coverage. (Knowing the coverage helps determine where and how the offense might try to attack it, putting me in better position)

Mentally say the numbers of the defenders in the secondary in the area of my key (helps when calling/reporting fouls)

If my key is not in press coverage or is an uncovered TE on the LOS, I'll key in on the strong side OT for a quick read. If my man is challenged, I don't take my eye off of him. If the 25-second clock is getting close, that's where my focus is until the snap.

At the end of the play, I do it all over again.
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 09:30pm
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Thanks Zebra...what do you mean by your "key". Is that the guy you "key" on by watching him during the play? What if you have more than one deep route?
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Old Sat Aug 11, 2007, 11:46pm
MJT MJT is offline
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Your key is who you are watching "at the snap." He is your read for run/pass or the receiver you would watch off the LOS if working deep in 6 or 7 man or the BJ on a 5 man crew. If you are deep in 6 or 7 man, or the BJ on a 5 man crew, after they get off the LOS a little ways you will switch to a zone coverage until the ball is in the air. When the ball is in the air, a good BJ will be going to the receiver with his eyes, and moving that direction with his body.

Grant's site has some nice PPT's for knowing your keys. You can also order an officials manual. You can find that in the back of your rule book.
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Old Sun Aug 12, 2007, 05:55am
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Excellent question MJT. This is one of the things that I am working on right now.

Last year, I worked as Back Judge. I'll be at the Head Linesman position this year.

Being fairly new (2nd year registered) I am open to suggestions. The first step is the get the pre-snap procedure correct. The second step is to practice it on the field. If the first step is wrong, the second step only creates bad habits. Feel free to comment good/bad or otherwise. Any suggestions will only help me to improve.

Here is what I have for Head Linesman:

Ensure wristband indicates correct down
Extend arm above head and signal number of down.
Check chains, clip, down indicator
(exact procedures depend on the result of the last play)
Mentally note:
a) time on clock
b) down and distance
c) yard line the ball is sitting on
Count B players
(offensive huddle breaks)
Identify eligible receivers. (which really means to identify ineligible receivers wearing eligible numbers on my side of field and mentally note the number(s) they are wearing.
Communicate to widest receiver if he is “on the line” or “off the line”
If my widest receiver is off the line, use punch back signal.
Look at Line judge to determine if his widest receiver is on or off the line.
Count the number of backs.
If there are more than four off the line:
a) be ready to throw the flag at the snap, no whistle
b) mental note of formation (the coach is going to want to know what was illegal about the formation)
Look down at feet to ensure I am off the field.
Look down the sideline to ensure the coach/players are in their proper box
(Legs slightly bent, stradling line of scrimmage, whistle in hand) I check the neutral zone.
a) watch for neutral zone infractions
b) watch for false start movement
c) Flag and whistle for either of the above (get player’s number for the referee/coach)
Ensure “man in motion” (moving away from me) is not moving towards line of scrimmage
Be ready to rule on backward pass if quarterback throws pass without dropping back. (punch back signal for backward pass)
Identify formation and “my” keys.
Get ready to watch tackle at snap to determine run or pass.
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Old Mon Aug 13, 2007, 08:58am
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Time2Ref,

A couple of things I would recommend -
1) Take care of your positioning and the coaches earlier in the sequence. Once A comes to the line, it's too late to be turning around to check on where the coaching staff is located - you'll miss something on the field.
2) Also be ready to rule on a pass to your side - is it forward or backward.
3) Before you extend your arm above your head and signal the down - first hold up your hand against your chest and signal the down to the referee. He then will confirm it back to you. You signal the box man to change the down and then extend your arm with the correct down.
4) You don't always have to be off the field at the start of the play. Set your position to best cover the situation - it may be off the field but it may not be. What works best for a six official college game may not fit too well for a Friday night three yards and a cloud of dust game.
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