Author Topic: Mechanics query - possible missed foul  (Read 3726 times)

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Mechanics query - possible missed foul
« on: September 17, 2011, 09:22:00 AM »
Folks, I've been puzzling this one from a game last night.

10-man high school game. Nothing spectacular about both teams, no major fouls - a little sloppily played, esp. on the line, but no sign of animosity. Four man crew. Veteran R, veteran LJ (me), solid young HL, solid official learning the U spot.
Fourth quarter, visitors leading by a boatload.

The play:
Middle of the field. Visitors have possession. Ball on my side of the centre, ergo I am the "free" official. The guard (three-man line) drop back, receivers - two on my side - pelt downfield. Reading pass, I move downfield to cover the receivers.

The Q rolls to the wide side of the field. Pass play into the flat. The R is correctly flowing to the wide side, following the Q.
The HL is correctly reading a short pass, is welded to the LOS, reading advance blocking (first) then covering the pass. The U flows from line blocking to the wide side.
I've got downfield passing - with primary coverage of A wideout, A slot and covering backs, down about 25 yards.

Problem. After the play, One of the A linemen is rolling about on the field, and A coaches allege that he was punched/assaulted in the private regions.

In principle, the short-side official should have that area of coverage - but in the four-man system, the "free" official has all downfield pass coverage.

The HL has no right even thinking about looking in that area: it's not his zone.
The R has no right even thinking about that area: he's flowing to the short side.
The U, really, isn't that responsible, as he has to turn to the wide side to pick up advance blocking on the roll-out, then downfield blocking on the pass to the flat, check for ineligibles, etc.
And the LJ has primary keys on the short-side wideout, the short-side slot (who went to the centre of the field, down about 30 yards) and secondary coverage of downfield receivers who originated wide-side, but are now on patterns behind the U. Six players, basically to watch for.

As best as we could all tell, the alleged nut-twisting incident took place not far from the close-line-area, short side, near the line. It took place at a point where no official had that area as a primary key, and at a time when the official responsible for the secondary coverage - the LJ - was deep downfield tasked with primary pass coverage.

I do not fault the mechanics of the other three officials in this incident.  Yet at the same time, I can't bring myself to fault my own actions: by the time I'd read a pass to the wide side flat, stopped moving downfield and rotated to pick up secondary the fallout from the short side of the line, the A line player was already on the ground.

My guts tell me that this is something we'd have picked up with a five-man crew, as the back umpire would have taken the two deepest receivers and the free official would not have moved as deep downfield ...

But what I want to know from the vets out there - how could we have picked this up, without screwing up our primary assignments?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 09:02:59 PM by Livin' in the pit »


  • Guest
Re: Mechanics query - possible missed foul
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 04:02:19 PM »
Only answer is to have your head on a swivel.  Tough situation.  i am sure there is no pat answer.  :)


  • Guest
Re: Mechanics query - possible missed foul
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 10:18:32 AM »
The problem you have is that once the rollout happens, R & U are both moving in that direction. If this were a sweep, the back side official (LJ in this case) would come in behind to pick up the garbage. If the rollout went to the open sideline, you'd also be fine, because HL could get the R and U's backs.

In your case, U might hang back a bit to pick up the garbage, but your view of U's main responsibility is correct. If he's stayed on the line, HL can help with ineligibles downfield and maybe some of the blocking ahead of the rollout, which would free up U somewhat. But you can't count on that, because it's just as likely that HL has drifted downfield with any receivers on his side, especially in 4-man.

I'm not sure you'd get it in 5-man, either, because the Free man would still have gone downfield, and is unlikely to be looking back into the linemen. BU also has receivers down with him, so he can't help.

When there are four of us, and 24 (or 20 in this case) of them, sometimes we're just going to be outnumbered.