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  1. Exactly. That's why I said the tackles fall to the wings or R. The RT in general is the one most likely to get away with anything unless he's on play side of a run or he gets beat so bad in pass pro that he takes down the defender in your view and the LT's block is not in play. So many things can draw your attention depending on how the play develops you have to know where best to focus your attention. That learning only comes from experience. No amount of rule study or discussion can help you there.
  2. That's a fair question. Each official is responsible for watching specific players or players in an area of the field depending on how the play develops. The umpire's keys are the G-C-G. He doesn't usually pay much attention to the tackles but will try to have a feel for where they are, especially if a team is known to run RPO. But it's very difficult to see all 5 at the same time as well as see what the QB is doing. The LOS officials or referee will more likely be keying the tackles, but they have other responsibilities as well and may not have perspective on the location of the tackle in relation to the expanded neutral zone. And the officials who do see the lineman is beyond 2 yards isn't looking at the QB at the same time to know the status of the pass. That's why I started using the mechanic where I take a quick peak at the QB if KNOW an ineligible player is BEYOND the expanded neutral zone. If the ball is not yet released and is ultimately thrown beyond the neutral zone, then it becomes a foul. Otherwise it's a guess and I guessed wrong too many times so now i want to make absolutely certain. I hope that helps you understand why this is difficult but not impossible.
  3. JustRules

    South Decatur

    I heard a sports psychologist speak once (targeted to a group of parents) and his best advice was there are 4 major roles in any sporting event: players, coaches, officials and parents. Each group has a distinct job to do and nobody should do more than 1 of them. It makes so much sense! Of course as an official we have to worry about everyone else trying to do our job too.
  4. And what if the team isn't in an offset gun formation? Or what if the other tackle or one of the guards bleeds downfield because he expects it to be a run? If we only officiated to what the players were SUPPOSED to do we would never have a hold or pass interference. Because they weren't supposed to make that contact. But they did. You do look for tendencies though and that's one I've never heard. I will definitely look for it on video to see if I notice it then apply i ton the field this Fall.
  5. It's not really any easier with 7 because it still relies heavily on the U specific to RPO situations. The short wins can help a little more on the tackles because they have less focus downfield. The reason why it's difficult is because an official has to be able to see two different things (lineman downfield and pass released) happen on two different parts of the field (offensive backfield and back of the expanded neutral zone). And the 5 linemen can be spread out in that expanded neutral zone. You are completely correct that he's also looking for other possible issues. Illegal blocks (i.e. holding, chop blocks), or hands to the face for example. He's less likely to be moving toward the LOS because it's probably a run read, but depending on what the guards and center do, he may be doing that thus putting the tackles wider than his view and possibly behind him. He doesn't pay close attention to the tackles because his keys are the guard, center, guard. There really isn't a mechanic that will help you watch both of these places at the same time and not miss all the other things you need to be watching. It's equally difficult for the wings regarding defensive holding or pass interference at times. The official may see the contact, but if the ball is already going to the other side of the field, it's not a foul. They do something similar to what I described. See the potential illegal action and then take a quick peak at the QB to see if he's looking that way or already throwing the ball the other direction. That's where I picked up the technique I use and have since heard it taught at clinics I attend. Officiating is sometimes an inexact science. You put yourself in the best position possible to see what you need to see and then base any decisions on what your eyes tell your brain and how you apply the rules and philosophies you've learned to make the best call possible. Then you play it over in your brain again before deciding if it was a foul. The more you see similar types of plays either on the field or on video, the better you are able to recognize it and make an accurate call. You watch video to see if you still like what you saw and sometimes you adjust how you process it when you see it again. It's not unlike players who have to make reads, adjustments and decisions quickly on the field. Trying to figure out how to do that right every time is one thing I love about officiating. You strive for perfection but realize that is almost impossible to do. But you don't stop trying.
  6. I think it's currently called a lot more often than it should. I think a lot of umpires see the ball thrown and when they turn they see a lineman 6-8 yards downfield and flag them. But when you watch the video that lineman was still legal. But as I said it's a very tricky thing because nobody is looking at the linemen and QB at the same time and even good officials make this mistake. I'm sure there are also plenty of times where the bleeding lineman is missed because the focus is on other lineman. You often can watch all 5 at one time. I should clarify too that all RPO teams don't do this every play. But every RPO team I have seen does have linemen often coming into the expanded neutral zone at various times during the game. Most of the time it ends up being a run or the QB throws it while the linemen are still legal. I don't know if there will be any more emphasis on enforcing it. What we are going to see is if the linemen can only be in the ENZ if they are engaged or if they can be there regardless before the ball is thrown. If it's the latter it won't be a change for a majority of officials. If it's the former it will affect many RPO offenses ability to run it, but it will be easier to officiate because the linemen can't be downfield at all before the ball is thrown. As run read will truly be a run read.
  7. It's a lot harder than you think. The reason is the umpire has to watch two different things taking place in two different areas of the field. I have to know where the lineman is in relation to the line of scrimmage when the ball is released. He's not watching the QB so while he'll see the lineman but not know when the ball is released. As since linemen are coming out, he has a run read. If the releasing linemen aren't engaged there is no reason to watch them so he'll focus on the engaged blockers for holding assuming it's a run. All of the sudden the ball is in the air, and he has no idea where the other linemen were at the time the ball was released so he can't call anything. If we could watch all 5 linemen at the same time as well as the QB we would be super human. The way I do it now is sense if linemen are downfield but watch for engaged blocks. If I see a lineman is beyond the 2-yards allowed I take a quick peak back at the QB. If the ball is released or he's in near the end of his throwing motion, I let it go. If he still has the ball I go back to officiating my keys. If the ball is thrown any time after that I know I have a foul because I already had a lineman downfield. That seems to work because I now may only miss 1 per season. It also makes sure the foul is definitely there. It has taken years of practice and experience to get there. It's much easier to catch on video because you can stop the video the second the ball is released and do an inventory of the ineligible players. Can't do that on the field.
  8. Every RPO I've seen at the HS and NCAA level has linemen coming out to try to engage a LB or at least drive the DL back to sell it as a pure run. Sometimes they drift too far before the ball is thrown (usually the fault of the passer and not the lineman). The problem usually comes in when a lineman may be 6-8 yards downfield when the pass is caught, but the rule applies when the pass is released. Often the lineman is fine at that point but coaches scream because they see the lineman way downfield when the ball is in the air. I was fooled by this many times when I was a newer official, but watching on film I realized the lineman was fine at the time of release. Now I'm much slower to flag it unless I"m absolutely certain the lineman was illegal when the ball was released.
  9. My guess is they are going to clarify if ineligible players are able to go 2 yards prior to the pass only if they engage with a defender at the LOS. There is some disagreement on that as the rule says it both ways. Most officials I know allow 2 yards regardless of contact so we'll see if that changes. If they require contact at the LOS I bet we see little or no RPO going forward.
  10. JustRules

    Alliance of American Football

    Each NFL team is affiliated with one of the AAF teams (http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25900439/everything-need-know-first-alliance-american-football-season). That article also explains how colleges are affiliated with each of the teams as well. This article confirms the Colts are affiliated with the Memphis team (https://saintswire.usatoday.com/2019/02/10/saints-aaf-memphis-express-davis-tull-damian-swann/). Cathedral and UIndy grad Reece Horn is playing for Memphis and caught 2 passes for 28 yards last weekend. If you look at the Memphis roster (https://aaf.com/memphis-express/roster) there are a couple names I believe have spent at least some time with the Colts.
  11. JustRules

    2019 Rule Changes

    Yes, they are still considered IHSAA officials as you are required to be licensed to work regular season varsity games as well. But the IHSAA is not involved at all in assigning those games. It's up to each school to hire their own officials. If they are found to have hired a non-licensed official they would be subject to forfeiting the game. Things like meeting attendance, rules meeting review, rules test only apply if you are a tournament official as well. I haven't seen as much of the playoff skipping as IO has seen in the Indy area. I'm only aware of one crew who does it, but they also don't work a full regular season either. There obviously has to be some of this though because 165-ish games get covered every week with a handful of crews not working, but only 145-ish crews apply for the tournament. That would imply 10-12% of the regular season crews don't apply for the tournament.
  12. This rule change has nothing to do with this part of the rule. It's only changing the requirement from a minimum of 7 linemen to no more than 4 backs. It's ultimately the same thing assuming there are 11 players on offense, but it removes the foul if there are 10 or fewer players and the missing players are linemen. The example Bob gives above is often referred to as No-Man's Land. Receivers and wing backs are very often in this position and it's technically a foul for illegal formation. But the philosophy is as long as there is noticeable separation between the player on the line and the player who is a back, nobody is gaining an advantage and we consider him legal. This is a great example of where you officiate WITH the rule book and not BY the rule book. If you watch the NFL and to a lesser extent NCAA, they refer to a "blade of grass separation". If there is even the tiniest separation by the back then he's legal.
  13. This change was made because under the previous rule if you only had 10 players on offense with 4 backs and 6 linemen you were guilty of an illegal formation even though you were at a disadvantage of having not enough players. This change removes that as a foul and matches the NCAA rule. What both versions are trying to prevent is lining up 10 of your players at ends or backs so they are all eligible. They included the "minimum of 5 on the line" even though that's already covered by the numbering requirement. They really didn't need to mention it here but they did and it's creating a lot of confusion. You could legally snap with 6 players if you wanted (5 lineman and a back to receive the snap). From an officiating mechanics standpoint, wings were usually counting backs anyway. As long as the R/U confirmed there were 11 players, they only had to make sure there were no more than 4 backs. If the R/U counted 10 players, then the wings would make sure there were no more than 3 backs. Now the wings don't have to worry about how many players there are on offense for this formation rule.
  14. JustRules

    2019 Rule Changes

    I agree completely. We don't have a single source for interpretation here to provide that consistency other than "what does the book say?" It's tough to do that at a statewide high school level so that is not a knock on the IHSAA. Some states are just more structured than others. Unless we have a commissioner focused on officiating only it's very difficult to get to that level of involvement with rules and interpretations.
  15. JustRules

    Mercy Rule

    Yes for NCAA and NFL but not for NFHS. I believe every state that has a mercy rule doesn't stop the clock when the runner goes out of bounds once they are in the mercy rule so there would be no need to start it. It never stopped. And in the NFL and NCAA you'll notice the clock starts well before the ball is even marked. They are usually winding it with 34-36 seconds left on the play clock and the ball isn't usually spotted until 28-32.