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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 10:45am
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PI mechanics question, 4-man crew

4-man crew.

For full disclosure, I coach football and have a question because I really don't know how this works.

Does the Umpire in a 4-man crew have pass interference responsibilities on the receivers closest to the sidelines on vertical routes? We had a play where the HL on our sideline was watching the other team's receiver and our corner on a vertical route about 15-20 yards downfield. The receiver had to come back to the ball a little and there was some contact between the two of them, but the HL did not throw his flag. (He did start to reach for it though) The U turned from just behind the LOS and threw the flag for the PI down the field and toward the sideline a considerable distance. We disagreed with the call and I told the HL that if he was going to call the penalty, we may not like it but at least we can buy it since he is right on top of the play, but it looked bad for his U to penalize something from that far away that he could only have seen the very end of.

The U told us that once the ball crosses the LOS he is supposed to turn and watch things downfield, so that is why he threw the flag.

Maybe I am way off here, so if I am, let me know. I just thought it looked like the U stepped on the HL's toes when the play was right in front of the HL. I also realize that if there was a BJ on the field he would have helped the HL, so there are limitations to 4-man mechanics in football.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 11:38am
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Everywhere I've worked, it's always been taboo for the Umpire to throw a PI flag. We'll turn with the pass to help rule on incomplets on trapped balls and if a ball was touched but should not be throwing PI.

As you said, there are some serious coverage gaps with a four man crew and there could be extenuating circumstances where the umpire might throw on PI but in your case, it doesn't sound like that it fits.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 11:50am
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I do not see why the U cannot call those things in a 4 man system. They rule on passes in a 5 man system. The BJ is not there with 4 man and part of my understanding is that U/BJ is always to rule on deep plays and situation in the passing game. Of course they are not going to see all these plays, but I do not see why they cannot rule on these plays if you are going to use 4 officials in a game.

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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 12:03pm
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5-man the U should stay away from this. With a 4-man crew he probably needs to help. Also realize distance is not always a factor that should prevent an official from throwing a flag. Angle is often much more important than distance. In a play like this the U has a completely different angle than the H and may have had a better view.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 12:26pm
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In 4 man, a lot of the B responsibilities can be and should be covered by U, depending on how deep they occur. I have no problem with U calling a PI that he is sure of, and would not consider this poaching a call.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 01:06pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbcrowder View Post
In 4 man, a lot of the B responsibilities can be and should be covered by U, depending on how deep they occur. I have no problem with U calling a PI that he is sure of, and would not consider this poaching a call.
Agree. With more and more JV teams running spread offenses, trying to watch all 4 or 5 receivers with 2 pairs of eyes is impossible. If you want a DPI on an underneath route, either the U gets it or you need a fifth official.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 01:51pm
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I would think it would be fine for the U to make this call. As the Linesman on both a 4 and 5 person crew, there are many PI calls that from my angle I cannot see, and I really have a great Back Judge who helps with a bunch of those calls, in the 4 man games, that would be the U.

Lots of times, I might be shielded from contact if it occurs on the other side of the receiver, so that's something the U in 4 man and the BJ in 5 man can clearly see being in the middle of the field. I would never be upset if a flag came from one of my partners, they are there to see the different angles, just because I might be the closest does not mean I can see everything.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 01:57pm
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I'm with the rest who think it's perfectly fine in 4-man for the U to help out here.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 02:02pm
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FWIW, this wasn't an underneath route. The play happened about 4-5 yards from the sideline and about 15 yards from the LOS and the corner was playing behind the receiver. I think the U was straightlined pretty badly, which is one reason why I thought he shouldn't have thrown the flag. The wing guy was moving toward the play and had what looked like a great angle from the side. (The same angle I had since I was standing right behind him)

I could see throwing the flag if it's a route somewhere in the middle of the field. (Drag, dig, maybe a post) It just appeared that he poached the wing official's call based on where they both were and where the play occured. Thanks for the replies.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 07:44pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zm1283 View Post
FWIW, this wasn't an underneath route. The play happened about 4-5 yards from the sideline and about 15 yards from the LOS and the corner was playing behind the receiver. I think the U was straightlined pretty badly, which is one reason why I thought he shouldn't have thrown the flag. The wing guy was moving toward the play and had what looked like a great angle from the side. (The same angle I had since I was standing right behind him)
Under that scenario, I'd be upset with the flag if I were the L/LJ. That said, I agree with the others that the U should not shy away from PI calls when they have the best line of sight in a four man.
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Old Tue Oct 04, 2011, 08:39pm
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by zm1283 View Post
FWIW, this wasn't an underneath route. The play happened about 4-5 yards from the sideline and about 15 yards from the LOS and the corner was playing behind the receiver. I think the U was straightlined pretty badly, which is one reason why I thought he shouldn't have thrown the flag. The wing guy was moving toward the play and had what looked like a great angle from the side. (The same angle I had since I was standing right behind him)

I could see throwing the flag if it's a route somewhere in the middle of the field. (Drag, dig, maybe a post) It just appeared that he poached the wing official's call based on where they both were and where the play occured. Thanks for the replies.
Let's face it...you didn't like the call and nothing we say is going to change that.

There's nothing wrong with the U making this call. You asked, you don't like the answer. So be it.
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Old Wed Oct 05, 2011, 10:53am
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Originally Posted by BktBallRef View Post
Let's face it...you didn't like the call and nothing we say is going to change that.

There's nothing wrong with the U making this call. You asked, you don't like the answer. So be it.
I didn't really tell the rest of the story at first because it wasn't relevant, but after this play happened, our tight end got held by a linebacker twice when releasing for a seam route down the middle of the field.

No, I didn't agree with it, but I let it go until our guy was held twice right in front of the U and neither were called.
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Old Wed Oct 05, 2011, 11:04am
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The "rest of the story" still isn't relevant, so why bring it up?

But since you did....prior to a pass being thrown, the U isn't going to be looking at TE/LB action, the U's primary responsibility is to watch the blocking action of the interior linemen (Center, Guards, and Tackle on the R's side).

In a 4-man system, the TE/LB action isn't going to be in the primary focus of anyone initially, especially if there are receivers outside of the tight end. Them's the breaks of only having 4 sets of eyes to watch 22 players.

So you decided to whine/complain to the officials at the game and to us because the U threw a flag in an area that is his responsibility, but then didn't throw a flag for something that's not part of his area of responsibility. Stay classy, coach.

Last edited by jTheUmp; Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:07am.
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Old Wed Oct 05, 2011, 11:08am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zm1283 View Post
I didn't really tell the rest of the story at first because it wasn't relevant, but after this play happened, our tight end got held by a linebacker twice when releasing for a seam route down the middle of the field.

No, I didn't agree with it, but I let it go until our guy was held twice right in front of the U and neither were called.
Hire more officials then! Tough for an Umpire to see this as this is not their initial key in most mechanics sets. With fewer officials on the field there are more holes in coverages to see a lot of things. Five officials is tough enough, four in today's game is much more of a problem.

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Old Thu Oct 06, 2011, 08:12am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jTheUmp View Post
.
So you decided to whine/complain to the officials at the game and to us because the U threw a flag in an area that is his responsibility, but then didn't throw a flag for something that's not part of his area of responsibility. Stay classy, coach.
At least two people who have replied said it was not his area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
Hire more officials then! Tough for an Umpire to see this as this is not their initial key in most mechanics sets. With fewer officials on the field there are more holes in coverages to see a lot of things. Five officials is tough enough, four in today's game is much more of a problem.

Peace
Why use that crutch? We would never actually say this in baseball or basketball when working 2-man, so why can it be used in football?
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