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05 On-Field Pregame

On-Field Preliminaries

Chapter 5. On-field Pregame
Pg. 22

After the meeting with both coaches,
there will be at least 15 minutes to check
the field and observe the teams. Officials’
duties are as follows:
All officials should inspect the field.
Wings should walk down the sidelines
and along each end line. If you discover
potholes, broken glass or other hazards,
ask game management to have the
problem taken care of immediately. If the
field is marked for another sport (many
football fields are also used for soccer),
make sure the crew knows which lines
are being used for football. Make sure
the goalposts are straight and free of
decoration and that the goalpost pads
are securely fastened. Check the pylons
to ensure they are properly placed.
The Referee and Umpire should spotcheck
players. Make a casual visual
inspection of players as they warm
up. Look for tinted eyeshields, knotted
jerseys, towels with decorations and
other uniform-related violations. Ask the
head coach to have the players make the
necessary corrections.
All officials should spend some time
warming up. Run from point to point as
you do your pregame checks. Run down
to those pylons and then run to check
the other end zone. It’s a great way to
warm up and will show you’re ready
to go. You only get one opportunity to
make a first impression. If calisthenics or
stretching is necessary they should be
performed out of bounds near the end
Casually observe both teams for
information that will be helpful during the
game. Watch both teams without giving
the appearance they are being inspected.
Pay attention to player actions similar
to those you will see during the game.
Players play the way they practice.
Things to look for include: How strong
are the punter’s and kicker’s legs? How is
the wind affecting kicks? How does the
kicked ball spin? Does he tend to slice it?
How does the team line up? Do they rush
the snap after getting set?
What blocking techniques are used?
Do the linemen block low? Is the
tight end and/or slot back in the free
blocking zone? Is the offensive line split
or unbalanced? Do they use a double
wide, a slot or trips? What patterns
do the receivers run? On defense, do
linebackers line up tight enough to be in
the free blocking zone at the snap? How
does the defensive line pass rush?
The Linesman must inspect the box
and chains and meet with chain crew
(see the chapter entitled “Chain Crew”).
The Linesman and Line Judge should
learn the names of ball persons and
brief them (see the chapter entitled “Ball
Avoid using pregame time for
nonessential chat with players, coaches,
spectators or others, especially if it could
give the appearance of favoritism.