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21 Between Downs

Between Downs – Wings

Chapter 21. Between Downs
Pg. 95

Linesman and Line Judge
As dead-ball officiating is being
conducted, the wings must mark the
forward progress spot for the Umpire.
The spot belongs to the wing that had
the best view of the ball; the other wing
should come up and match the spot.
The Line Judge is responsible for
letting the Referee know If the ball is
short of the stake, a first down or close
enough for the Referee to come up and
If the play does not result in a first
down or is not close enough to measure,
the Linesman must check the down with
the Referee and then step off the line
so the box man can properly place his
stake. The Linesman should receive a
verbal cue from box man that the box
has been correctly changed to the next
down. The Line Judge should check the
down box and help by bringing any error
to the Linesman’s attention.
The wings are responsible for counting
the team whose sideline they are on,
regardless of offense or defense. The
count should be checked with the
Referee/Umpire or Back Judge as
After the offense breaks from the
huddle, the next priority for both wing
officials is to check the closest receiver
by signaling as to whether he is on
the line or not. An arm pointing to the
backfield indicates “off the line” and a
hand pointing to the line of scrimmage
with the upfield arm indicates “on the
line.” It is recommended to use a tip of
the hat signal so the crewmate is assured
the information is confirmed. The wing
officials use an extended foot or hand
to advise the widest offensive player of
the line of scrimmage. Do not coach the
player about where he needs/wants to
be. If you cause a player to move and
then penalize for a false start or an illegal
formation, it is your fault. Do everything
you can to make the formation legal. Use
common sense and preventive officiating.
Next comes the check for seven on
the line. It’s a lot easier to count four
in the backfield, but that only works if
you’re sure there are exactly 11 players
on the offense which will be indicated by
the Referee and Umpire’s extended fist.
The wings have primary responsibility
for false starts on their side of the field
and for encroachment. If an offensive
player goes in motion, the wing he is
moving away from has responsibility,
even though the player may
subsequently change direction.
Only players and substitutes are
allowed on the field, coaches and
nonplayers are to remain off the field
except when authorized by an official.
Should a coach, player or non-player
become abusive to any official any time
during the game, the covering official
should call timeout and throw his flag for
unsportsmanlike conduct.
Finally, each wing must identify where
each eligible receiver is for his side of the