The Wisdom of Dan Louie...
A small work with Titanic implications for we sail or sink based upon it. This area is more abstract then the others and is harder to express but I will now set sail.
officials never hide behind position or game duties
as proscribed by manual. WE ALL need to pay
attention to the seemingly little details to ensure that the game is
administered correctly and fairly. In no particular order this is what I work at
in my games.
Whether working 4,5,6,7 man crews we all should be aware of the time.
This ensures that no one official is left on the hood if there is a discrepancy.
I look at the clock while the teams are in their huddle. I also look on any
signal which stops the clock. We may be a few seconds off but it is an easier
sell if we tell the coach, ĒSir, we are putting 4 seconds back on because we
had that as the official time.Ē Coach may still be unhappy but he canít
really complain to vociferously if we are able to convey that WE are watching
As the flank official I am on the sideline and make a note of players
going off and coming on by number. My personal habit is to mentally say to
myself, ď66, 34 out 33, 76 in. Ē I repeat this several times so that I am
confident of who can legally participate.
We should all communicate the new down with hand signals. I move my down
indicator after the ready for play. This assures me that I am on the right down.
What ever system you use keep it.
Is important to making this automatic. When I am the LJ I assist the LM
by checking the location and down on the box. I never let a team snap with the
box on the wrong down or in the wrong location.
I donít worry about quickly getting in the new ball but I want to make
certain that the ball being brought in is a legal ball. I pay special attention
in passing or kicking situations. Letting a team play with an unapproved or
illegal ball may seem picky but it provides that team with an unfair advantage
and speaks volumes about our attention to detail...it is the little things which
make or break us.
I like to know where my fellow officials are before I mark the ball ready
for play. I never want to start with the flanks talking with the coach or a
player. As a flank official I still like to be aware so that I can prevent the
Ref from prematurely winding. I want to know what spot my opposite official has
so that if the umpire takes it I can mirror it.
I spend the first quarter trying to get a feel for when teams like to
pass, kick, etc so that I can properly anticipate the play.
The ball in play
Simple SEE THE BALL. I anticipate fumble on every run. I never
kill the play or rule until I actually see the ball somewhere.
I go over all the things I need to be aware of when I am the LJ or LM.
Fair catch, touching, blocking, interference, etc. Once the ball has been kicked
I focus on the players. They will tell you with their body language when the
ball is coming down. Bouncing between Fed and NCAA I have to remind myself of
kicks into the end zone and differences.
Donít fall into the trap of believing the Referee and/or the Umpire
have enforcement responsibilities. We all should know the penalty and the proper
enforcement. As the LJ I say to myself, ďPI, 15 from the previous and auto
first down.Ē When I have the foul
I want to know the numbers involved. It isnít always possible but I have found
that I can do this 95% of the time and Iíll settle for that. All I want to do
is to reduce my margin of error to help sell my credibility. I also want to see
the entire play so that I know the block in the back was illegal from start to
finish. Alertness also helps me see any touchings which may change my rulings.
Is anyone else thinking, gee, mechanics play a big part in this?
This is why my list, for me, must be a combination of all its elements before I feel I had an okay game. Field awareness. I want to know if the goal line is a factor, if the line to gain is being threatened, is the ball on the opposite hash, etc. So, there is my list for alertness.