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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:14am
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Pre-Snap Communication w/ Players

All,
I officiated FB for several years at the High School level. I have since had to leave it because of my current career.

My question to those of you who officiate at the Collegiate level... or any level for that matter is, Prior to the snap, if you are the LJ or the J, do you communicate to the WR or DB is they are lined up on the LOS?

Reason for asking... Watched a game last weekend where the home team was facing a 4th & Goal from the 9yd line down by 4 points with under 40 seconds left in the game. At the snap, the J dropped a flag. The pass thrown by the QB was incomplete thus sending the visitors into celebration.

But wait... the flag. The DB was flagged for being offsides and the Home team scored on the very next play. So, My question....

1. Do you communicate pre-snap to a WR or DB to avoid having to call a penalty in this situation?

Yes? No? Why? Thanks.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:38am
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For HS, yes absolutely wings should communicate with their receivers to prevent encroachment. "You're on," "you're off," or if he says he's on or off, "back up" or "get up" would all be appropriate.

I was trained never to say "you're OK," since I don't know where he's supposed to be. So instead I report where he is.

I had to talk to a rookie this season who flagged a kid in a JV game for illegal formation. The kid had said he was on the line, and the rookie didn't think so and flagged him.

If the defense is in the NZ I'll holler for him to get back. If it's a varsity game and he doesn't move, that's still encroachment (HS rules don't have "offsides").
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:43am
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High school
I find myself communciating more than I would like to wideouts and Db's. It seems they are taught to look at the official first instead of the ball in order to lineup correctly. Having said that, I usually tap my thigh and nod to indicate they are OK. This is usually only if they are trying to line up on the line. If they are back that is usally fairly obvious to them and me.
I do not tell wideouts to "move up" because as soon as you do the ball would be snapped then we have a flag for IM.

In your example this play would never have gotten off as a DB violating the NZ is a dead ball foul and the play never happens. Of course context and timing is important, if the RFP has not been whistled then the DB can get back on his side of the NZ without a foul.

I have moved DB's and wideouts back. Most often the wideout is supposed to be on the line but he is too far back...

Last edited by whitehat; Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 11:46am.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:47am
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Well put....my wings will respond either "On?" or "Off?" and then give an OK or thumb up when they get where they want to be. At lower level HS and youth...they'll ask the kid if he wants to be on or off just to save the confusion and help them out a little bit.

That avoids the coach yelling about how we are supposed to tell his kid where to be. (I.E.: How do we know where you want your kid lined up, coach?)
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:47am
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Originally Posted by whitehat View Post
I do not tell wideouts to "move up" because as soon as you do the ball would be snapped then we have a flag for IM.
I used to worry about this, until I realized that if they don't move up, they'll probably be flagged for IF.

Lining up ain't rocket science, and it's not my fault if a player can't do it. Still, I'm willing to help him go where he's supposed to be.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 11:58am
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So what I am reading is that if a DB is lined up in the NZ that BEFORE the snap, you would provide a little assistance/communication to have him backup?

I agree completly with this. I would not want the game to come down to a DB or WR for that matter lining up in the NZ when I could have prevented it and "let the kids decide the outcome of the game"

This has bothered me all week. Mainly since the team I was cheering for lost. I just replayed all the games I called where I had to tell kids to back up a little. I know it's not my responsibility... But my rule of thumb is/was if I can prevent a penalty or infraction by providing a little bit of communication, then I would.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 12:21pm
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were you in colorado

FHSU were you in Golden this weekend??
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 12:48pm
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Our crew mentions this to the head coach during pregame: If the wing's arm is raised, that means he thinks the player closest to him is off the line. If the wing's arm is at his side, that means the player is on the line.

We also never respond to a player who says "am I good?" because we, as officials, don't know where he's supposed to line up.
However, if the player asks "am I on?" or "am I off?", we can (and will) respond appropriately.

If the player doesn't ask, we won't say anything.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 01:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitehat View Post
I find myself communciating more than I would like to wideouts and Db's. It seems they are taught to look at the official first instead of the ball in order to lineup correctly.
+1

This is definitely a pet peeve of mine, and I'm just a rookie. Nothing like having a coach standing right behind you yelling to his wideout, "Look at the ref, check with the ref."

If coaches want to teach their players to look at me to see if I'm punching them on or off the line then that's their prerogative; but when the wideout is trying to communicate with me before every play, it's distracting and sometimes annoying.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 01:30pm
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You should never tell a player to "back up" or "get up." If you do and the ball is snapped as he moves, you're responsible for the player committing the foul.

Point back if he's off, tap your leg if you choose, or "My foot's on the line." Pleanty of ways to point it out without telling him to move.
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Last edited by BktBallRef; Wed Oct 13, 2010 at 01:47pm.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 01:31pm
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Originally Posted by PocketSidewalk View Post
+1

This is definitely a pet peeve of mine, and I'm just a rookie. Nothing like having a coach standing right behind you yelling to his wideout, "Look at the ref, check with the ref."

If coaches want to teach their players to look at me to see if I'm punching them on or off the line then that's their prerogative; but when the wideout is trying to communicate with me before every play, it's distracting and sometimes annoying.
I think this differs from place to place. At most places, at non-varsity levels I've worked at, HL and LJ are encouraged to help them line up. It varies at V. And even varies by crew. Some tell you to help, some to ignore, others to help only if asked. OTOH - watch on Sunday ... you'll see wideouts looking at the officials, sometimes pointing, asking. I see no harm in helping.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 01:33pm
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I've found that responding to questions, or even just looks, by tapping my leg, and stating, "My foot's on the line" seems to provide enough information so they can adjust to whatever they're supposed to be.

I usually try and tell each receiver the first time I see them, "My foot will be on the line all day", and they usually check and adjust.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 02:11pm
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Originally Posted by cmathews View Post
FHSU were you in Golden this weekend??
Did you see the same thing I did? What are your thoughts?
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 02:33pm
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Originally Posted by cmathews View Post
well I can tell you what I do. I tell any player that asks whether they are on/over or off of the line. I wasn't at the game, but I know about the play. I am not at liberty to discuss it publicly, but I can say that the DB didn't use all of the information he could have had at his disposal...
I agree. I just know that in that situation... for me to throw that flag would be awful tough. I know i'm gonna hear the "you aren't there to make rules" etc... "you are there to enforce them" But to walk off the field knowing that I called a penalty that could have been avoided would be awful rough.

It's the same thing as holding... Honestly, it could be called on EVERY play. But we use our judgement. Did it affect the play? Did the player make an effort to get away or did he just stand there and get held and expect me to throw a penalty etc... Decisions, decisions.

Either way, it was a great game and it was unfortunate how it ended. It's a game of inches and there were several oppoetunities for both teams to put away the other. The home team made one more play than the visitors.
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Old Wed Oct 13, 2010, 02:50pm
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ok here we go

I wasn't at the game, but I saw the film and I talked to the official involved. He tried to get the DB back but with the crowd noise he couldn't hear him...The DB was lined up in press coverage and could either end up getting a jump on the coverage or blitzing the qb, thereby creating a big advantage/disadvantage situation.

Like anyone else he haited to throw the flag.

Like I said I saw the film, from the sideline view (50 yd line) and the play occuring on the 9 yd line, I could tell before I even talked to him who it was that was offsides.

With him being that far off (blicking the view of the ball) the guy can't let it go, his credibility is on the line, people will either think he is cheating for the visitors or blind. When the fouls are that blatant, you can't let them go, especially in a tight game....45 -3 yeah you can let it go, and head for the locker room...16-12, you just have to get it......
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