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The Gridiron Digest


Booster 2021-22
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  1. I believe Dan Devine left to Coach the Packers. So, a step down, @Irishman.
  2. You do recall that he is Notre Dame’s all time winningest coach, right?
  3. When I heard the news, I was just sick. But I’ve had some time to think about it now. Good luck to Coach Kelly. He gave Our Lady’s university a decade of his life. We got fair value for what he was paid. He and his wife became important members of the community. He is the winningest Notre Dame coach of all time. He will take his place alongside Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, and Holtz. Most importantly, he is not leaving the cupboard bare. So, I think most ND people will wish Coach Kelly well, and move on. This is a great opportunity for ND to move into the next phase of the football program with a new coach. Luke Fickel is the name everyone is talking about. But don’t sleep on Marcus Freeman, the 1st year DC. He’s a sensational recruiter and a great defensive coach. I expect he’ll be elevated to interim HC for the bowl game. Conventional wisdom is that your first job as a head coach should not be Notre Dame. But he might be the exception..
  4. Many, many years ago when I was also officiating college football, I went to a clinic in Los Angeles. It lasted several days, and we spent one afternoon working a UCLA scrimmage, and the next day a USC scrimmage. John Robinson was the coach at USC then. Their practice was unbelievable. I never saw so many people with $2,000 suits, designer sunglasses, $500 shoes, and weighted down with bling at a football practice before or since. It was like the Red Carpet on artificial turf.
  5. I don’t have much to add to @Moshiner1345’s insightful analysis of the play from an official’s standpoint. I’ll just reiterate that, regardless of how you interpret the slo mo and replay views, I would never fault that official’s judgment on a play like this, regardless of whether - with the benefit of technology - I thought it was the correct call or not.
  6. I guess I stand corrected. 🥱 If you have access to video, I’d love to take another look. You seem very sure of yourself.
  7. All good ideas. If you make your only goal to advance deep into the tournament, you are probably misguided. Keep in mind that improving your officiating, and that of your crew, gets you nothing, unless you improve relative to other crews. Playoff assignments are a zero sum game, meaning any move up results in a corresponding move down by someone else. If you are getting better, but so are others, you may not see any movement, even though you’re doing everything right.
  8. I am solidly in favor of going to 7 man crews in the upper levels of the playoffs. You don’t have to go any further than the first half of the 1A game to see an example of the benefit. There was a play that covered about 20 yds. and ended up with the runner diving over the pylon with the ball. The Head Linesman was forced to make a call while he was still running down the sideline trailing the play. Not his fault at all. It’s just a play that’s impossible to cover adequately with a 5 man crew. With a 7 man crew, there would have been an official stationary on that pylon, letting the play come to him. The knock against going to 7 is that it introduces some unfamiliar mechanics, and a couple of new faces, to an officiating crew that has demonstrated excellence at 5 man mechanics … and does so at a time when a mistake or miscommunication could cost a team their season. In my opinion, the difficulties in transitioning to a 7 man crew at, for example, the Regional level, are overrated. By that time, you have plenty of good officials available to supplement the 5 man crews. Let the crews choose their own additional officials, but the IHSAA should place stringent requirements to qualify as eligible for selection. In 2017, my last year of officiating on the field, I worked as the back judge on a 7 man crew in the North-South All Star game. I had never worked as a B on this crew, and our deep wings were 2 college guys I met for the first time at the dinner the night before. Some pregame study of the mechanics, and a nice pregame conference, and everything went fine. Is it optimal? Of course not. But the additional coverage is a benefit that far outweighs any transition issues, IMO. But another benefit that cannot be ignored these days is that expansion of the number of officials who get to work further in the playoffs is a sound retention strategy at a time when officials are leaving for a variety of reasons, one of which is frustration over the inability to advance in the tournament. However, I have not yet been able to convince anyone who matters of the wisdom of my viewpoint.
  9. Whether a job is “better” is different things to different people. For Riley, the USC job is better than any SEC job … primarily, IMO, because at USC his vaunted offense won’t have to face an SEC defense every week. He was bound to jump somewhere before that happened.
  10. USC was the best job available that didn’t involve having to play a regular season SEC schedule. He had no stomach for that.
  11. As it so happens, I was the evaluator on the 2A game, and was in a position to get a decent look at that play. I made a note to discuss it with the crew in the postgame debrief. Everyone was in the right position, looking at the right things. The covering official felt that the objectionable contact occurred after the ball was already past the receiver. Without going to the video, I have no reason to question his judgment. Either way, it was a bang-bang play and the classic judgment call. So, if it turns out the objectionable contact was a hair before the ball was past the receiver, I’m not going to fault the official for making his judgment at game speed. Either way, to label that no-call as “egregious” is, well … egregious.
  12. When I was at St. Ed’s, it was more like Brothers of the Right Cross. Those guys really packed a punch.
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