Berry Tramel

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Big 12 football: Let's take the officiating quiz

by Berry Tramel Modified: August 2, 2013 at 11:05 am •  Published: August 2, 2013

As everyone knows by now, I attended the Big 12’s officiating clinic a couple of weeks ago. Really interesting stuff. You can read my series here, here and here.

But as part of the clinic, everyone was given a 2013 Clinic Rules Test. It was fun to take, fun to learn what I knew and what I didn’t know, so I thought I’d share it with you and put it in the format that you can take yourself.

So here are the 25 questions, plus two bonus questions. I’ll give you all 25 questions. Then I’ll give you my answers, followed by the correct answers.

I got 17 of the 25 questions correctly, plus one of the two bonus questions. Some of my misses were minor – spotting the ball at the wrong place, etc. Except a minor officiating mistake is sort of like a minor surgery – it’s minor so long as it’s not happening to you.

Anyway, enjoy. And learn.

1. Team A has 1st-and-10 at the Team B 38-yard line. Immediately after the snap, a slot receiver positioned 13 yards to the right of the ball angles back inside toward the original position of the ball and blocks a defensive player low from the front at the Team 38-yard line. The quarterback scrambles and is tackled at the Team B 19-yard line.

2. Team A has 2nd-and-10 at the Team B 27-yard line. Immediately at the snap, the center attempts to release downfield to the block. The nose guard reaches out and initiates contact with the center with his left hand, but the center does not make any overt move to block him. At the same time as the contact between the center and nose guard, the offensive left guard blocks the nose guard at the knees. The tailback stumbles and falls to the ground at the Team B 28-yard line.

3. Team has first down at the Team B 22-yard line. The quarterback completes a pass to a receiver at the Team B 19, and he runs to the 15, where he is tackled. While the receiver has firm control of the ball, his left elbow hits the ground as he is being tackled. The defender tries to strip the ball loose from the receiver as he is going to the ground, and the ball comes loose after the receiver’s elbow is on the ground. The defense recovers the loose ball at the Team B 15.

4. Team A punts on 4th-and-6 from the Team A 34-yard line. During the punt, the Team B punt returner signals for a fair catch and is in position to catch the ball. A member of the punting team makes contact with him at the Team B 30-yard line. The ball bounces out of the bounds at the Team B 30.

5. On first down at the Team 38, a Team A receiver goes airborne near the sideline to attempt to catch a pass. He catches the ball while airborne, and his left foot comes down inbounds at the Team A 47, just before his right foot lands out of bounds at the Team 46. When his left foot was inbounds, the ball was in his possession over the sideline at the 47-yard line.

6. First down at the Team B 48-yard line. Team A receiver tips a legal forward pass at the Team B 46. A defender dives for the tipped pass at the Team B 41, and just after the pass had touched the ground, the defender secures firm control of the ball as he rolls to the ground.

7. Team A leads 31-0 in the fourth quarter and faces 3rd-and-7 from its 37-yard line. A shotgun quarterback throws a pass from his 32-yard line to a tailback who catches it at the Team A 30. The tailback runs sideways and is tackled at the 30. During the run, the right guard blocks a defender from behind at the knees, at the Team A 37-yard line.

8. Team A has first-and-goal from the Team B 10-yard line. A tailback takes a handoff at the Team B 15 and runs to the 2-yard line, where he is tackled. Immediately after the snap, the center tries to release downfield to block but is grabbed and pulled around by the nose guard at the Team B 9-yard line. This prevents the center from blocking the defender who eventually makes the tackle.

9. With 58 seconds left in the game, Team A leads 49-41. Team B is out of the timeouts. With the game clock running down to 38 and Team A facing 2nd-and-12 at the Team B 40-yard line, and both teams on the line of scrimmage, the nose guard reaches across the line and knocks the ball from the center’s hand prior to the snap.

10. Team A has 3rd-and-1 at its 36-yard line. The quarterback completes a pass at the Team B 43-yard line. Prior to the snap, the left cornerback tried to time the snap on an outside blitz but was in the neutral zone early when the snap was made.

11. Team A has 3rd-and-15 at its 28-yard line. The quarterback attempts to call signals as the play clock runs down. The play clock clearly shows :00 seconds when the center snaps the ball.

12. Team A faces 3rd-and-4 at the Team B 7-yard line. The shotgun quarterback throws a pass in the end zone. The defender, not playing the ball and his back to the QB, makes contact with the receiver, preventing him from catching the pass, which falls incomplete in the end zone.

13. First down at the Team B 49-yard line. The Team A quarterback completes a pass at the line of scrimmage, and the receiver runs toward the left pylon. As he reaches to extend the ball inside the pylon, the receiver’s left foot is touching the sideline white border as the ball is at the ½-yard line prior to passing inside the pylon.

14. Team A first down at the Team B 48. Team A is at the line of scrimmage after making the first down but does not substitute and lines up with a five-receiver set. Team B is confused about what personnel it wants on the field after the referee had made the ball ready for play and wound the clock. A linebacker runs on the field and a teammate immediately starts to run off but is not off the field when all Team A players except the center (who remains motionless with the ball) simulate the start of a play in an abrupt manner.

15. Team A punts on 4th-and-11 from its 19-yard line. Team B’s punt returner fields the punt at the Team B 45 and is tackled at the Team A 46. During the return, a Team B blocker pushes a Team A player in the back at the Team B 48-yard line.

16. Team A faces 2nd-and-1 at its 47-yard line. The quarterback scrambles and throws an incomplete pass from the Team A 48, in the direction of a receiver at the Team B 38. When the pass is thrown, the quarterback’s entire body is at or beyond the Team A 48.

17. Team A faces 4th-and-1 from its 34-yard line. While in punt formation, Team A has five players lined up in the backfield at the snap. The punt is downed at the Team B 25-yard line, untouched by Team B.

18. First down at the Team A 48. After a first down but without substituting, Team A is lined up prior to the snap. The middle linebacker runs on the field late and the replaced defender is running off the field and is at the numbers when Team A snaps the ball. The quarterback throws an incomplete pass to a receiver at the Team B 47.

19. With 29 seconds left in the second quarter, Team A has first down at its 45, with two timeouts remaining. The quarterback drops straight back in the pocket on the left hash mark, and while under pressure, throws the ball from the Team A 39-yard line straight downfield, and it lands at the Team B 12-yard line. There is no Team A player within 30 yards of where the pass lands. At the end of the play, the clock is at 0:22.

20. Team A has 2nd-and-10 from the Team B 30. The shotgun quarterback takes the snap and from the Team B 35-yard line throws a pass to a running back who catches the ball at the 37. The running back then throws a second pass to a receiver in the end zone for a touchdown. After the touchdown, the receiver makes an immediate and spontaneous salute to his own fans in the end zone, not directed at any opponent. During the first pass, the right offensive tackle reaches out and tackles the defensive end, preventing him from getting to either passer.

21. Team A has 2nd-and-10 at the Team B 40. The shotgun quarterback throws a pass to the left, which is caught by a slot receiver at the Team B 35, and he is tackled at the Team B 32. Before the pass, the wide receiver on the left lined up just outside the slot receiver, releases downfield and initiates contact and blocks a defender at the Team B 33, preventing the defender from covering the slot receiver.

22. Team A has 3rd-and-4 at the Team B 49-yard line. The quarterback drops back to the Team A 43 and throws a pass that falls incomplete at the Team B 45. During the play, a blitzing linebacker lowers his head and strikes the QB with the crown of his helmet into the helmet of the QB, just after he releases the pass.

23. Team A has first-and-goal at the Team B 10. The quarterback pitches the ball to a tailback, who is tackled for a loss at the Team B 13. Well after the quarterback pitches the ball, a linebacker lowers his head and thrusts himself upward to contact, with the crown of his helmet, the quarterback’s facemask.

24. Team A has 2nd-and-10 from the Team B 47-yard line. The quarterback completes a long pass to a receiver at the Team B 5-yard line, and he continues on and is tackled in the end zone for a touchdown. Immediately after scoring, the receiver takes the ball and spikes it with force into the ground in the end zone.

25. First down at the Team A 23. The Team A quarterback catches a swing pass at the Team 22 and runs to the Team B 4-yard line, where is forced out of bounds. While pursing the play, the side judge runs into a Team B player who was not one of the 11 competitors on the play but who is standing in the middle of the white sideline border at the Team B 28. This contact causes the side judge to stumble and trip, but he does not go down. However, this significantly affects his ability to continue officiating the play.

BONUS I: Team A faces 2nd-and-9 at the Team B 35-yard line. Team A has substituted and Team B is in the process of replacing players to match up as Team A sets in position. The umpire is in front of the center with his hand up in a STOP position, and the referee has his arms extended, holding up play by rule, allowing Team to substitute. As Team B players are going off the field and Team B substitutes are moving to their position, a wide receiver false starts by abruptly starting downfield.

BONUS II: Team A faces 4th-and-1 at the Team A 26-yard line. Team A punts, and the returner catches the punt at the Team B 20 and is immediately tackled at the Team B 21-yard line. But a member of the receiving team is wearing the same number as the punt returner and blocks a Team A player during the play.

ANSWERS

OK, here are the answers, with first my answers, followed by the correct answers. I’m repeating the questions, so you won’t have to go back and forth.

1. Team A has 1st-and-10 at the Team B 38-yard line. Immediately after the snap, a slot receiver positioned 13 yards to the right of the ball angles back inside toward the original position of the ball and blocks a defensive player low from the front at the Team 38-yard line. The quarterback scrambles and is tackled at the Team B 19-yard line.

* I say illegal block, 15-yard penalty from the point of the foul, back to the Team 47.

CORRECT

2. Team A has 2nd-and-10 at the Team B 27-yard line. Immediately at the snap, the center attempts to release downfield to the block. The nose guard reaches out and initiates contact with the center with his left hand, but the center does not make any overt move to block him. At the same time as the contact between the center and nose guard, the offensive left guard blocks the nose guard at the knees. The tailback stumbles and falls to the ground at the Team B 28-yard line.

* I say no penalty for illegal chop block, since the offensive player did not initiate the contact or otherwise engage the defender.

CORRECT

3. Team has first down at the Team B 22-yard line. The quarterback completes a pass to a receiver at the Team B 19, and he runs to the 15, where he is tackled. While the receiver has firm control of the ball, his left elbow hits the ground as he is being tackled. The defender tries to strip the ball loose from the receiver as he is going to the ground, and the ball comes loose after the receiver’s elbow is on the ground. The defense recovers the loose ball at the Team B 15.

* I say no fumble. The runner is ruled down by the elbow.

CORRECT

4. Team A punts on 4th-and-6 from the Team A 34-yard line. During the punt, the Team B punt returner signals for a fair catch and is in position to catch the ball. A member of the punting team makes contact with him at the Team B 30-yard line. The ball bounces out of the bounds at the Team B 30.

* I say 15-yard interference penalty. Team B ball at the Team B 45.

CORRECT

5. On first down at the Team 38, a Team A receiver goes airborne near the sideline to attempt to catch a pass. He catches the ball while airborne, and his left foot comes down inbounds at the Team A 47, just before his right foot lands out of bounds at the Team 46. When his left foot was inbounds, the ball was in his possession over the sideline at the 47-yard line.

* I say completed pass, ball spotted at the 47.

CORRECT

6. First down at the Team B 48-yard line. Team A receiver tips a legal forward pass at the Team B 46. A defender dives for the tipped pass at the Team B 41, and just after the pass had touched the ground, the defender secures firm control of the ball as he rolls to the ground.

* I say incomplete pass.

CORRECT

7. Team A leads 31-0 in the fourth quarter and faces 3rd-and-7 from its 37-yard line. A shotgun quarterback throws a pass from his 32-yard line to a tailback who catches it at the Team A 30. The tailback runs sideways and is tackled at the 30. During the run, the right guard blocks a defender from behind at the knees, at the Team A 37-yard line.

* I say illegal block, 15-yard penalty assessed from the line of scrimmage, back to the Team A 22.

CORRECT. However, the answer sheet did not spell out from where the penalty is assessed. It assumes the penalty will be declined, since it would set up 4th-and-14.

8. Team A has first-and-goal from the Team B 10-yard line. A tailback takes a handoff at the Team B 15 and runs to the 2-yard line, where he is tackled. Immediately after the snap, the center tries to release downfield to block but is grabbed and pulled around by the nose guard at the Team B 9-yard line. This prevents the center from blocking the defender who eventually makes the tackle.

* I say defensive holding, half the distance to the goal from the end of the run, so the 1-yard line.

CORRECT

9. With 58 seconds left in the game, Team A leads 49-41. Team B is out of the timeouts. With the game clock running down to 38 and Team A facing 2nd-and-12 at the Team B 40-yard line, and both teams on the line of scrimmage, the nose guard reaches across the line and knocks the ball from the center’s hand prior to the snap.

* I say defensive delay of game, five yards, 10-second runoff and the game clock resumes running after the ball is spotted, with a 25-second play clock. And let me say, I’m totally guessing on this one.

INCORRECT. Game is over, if the offense so decides. My mistake? The play clock is reset to 40, and with only 38 seconds left, it’s over.

10. Team A has 3rd-and-1 at its 36-yard line. The quarterback completes a pass at the Team B 43-yard line. Prior to the snap, the left cornerback tried to time the snap on an outside blitz but was in the neutral zone early when the snap was made.

* I say dead ball foul. Offsides. Five-yard penalty on the defense.

INCORRECT. Seemed like it would be a dead ball because a defender would have a free path to the quarterback. But perhaps because it’s a cornerback, he was too far away. So it’s just offsides, with no dead ball. The offense gets a choice.

11. Team A has 3rd-and-15 at its 28-yard line. The quarterback attempts to call signals as the play clock runs down. The play clock clearly shows :00 seconds when the center snaps the ball.

* I say delay of game. Five-yard penalty.

CORRECT

12. Team A faces 3rd-and-4 at the Team B 7-yard line. The shotgun quarterback throws a pass in the end zone. The defender, not playing the ball and his back to the QB, makes contact with the receiver, preventing him from catching the pass, which falls incomplete in the end zone.

* I say defensive pass interference, ball spotted at the 1-yard line.

INCORRECT. The ball is spotted at the 2-yard line. That’s a good rule to know – where is the ball spotted on interference in the end zone.

13. First down at the Team B 49-yard line. The Team A quarterback completes a pass at the line of scrimmage, and the receiver runs toward the left pylon. As he reaches to extend the ball inside the pylon, the receiver’s left foot is touching the sideline white border as the ball is at the ½-yard line prior to passing inside the pylon.

* First off, the question seems to have left out a lot of action. How did the guy get from the 49 to the goal line so quick? Anyway, I say the ball is marked at the ½-yard line.

CORRECT

14. Team A first down at the Team B 48. Team A is at the line of scrimmage after making the first down but does not substitute and lines up with a five-receiver set. Team B is confused about what personnel it wants on the field after the referee had made the ball ready for play and wound the clock. A linebacker runs on the field and a teammate immediately starts to run off but is not off the field when all Team A players except the center (who remains motionless with the ball) simulate the start of a play in an abrupt manner.

* I say illegal procedure against the offense. It can’t be a penalty on the defense for having 12 men on the field, because there was no play in which to have 12 men on the field.

CORRECT

15. Team A punts on 4th-and-11 from its 19-yard line. Team B’s punt returner fields the punt at the Team B 45 and is tackled at the Team A 46. During the return, a Team B blocker pushes a Team A player in the back at the Team B 48-yard line.

* I say illegal block in the back, 15-yard penalty from the Team B 48, so the ball is spotted at the Team B 33.

INCORRECT. The ball spotted at the Team B 38. It’s a 10-yard penalty.

16. Team A faces 2nd-and-1 at its 47-yard line. The quarterback scrambles and throws an incomplete pass from the Team A 48, in the direction of a receiver at the Team B 38. When the pass is thrown, the quarterback’s entire body is at or beyond the Team A 48.

* I say illegal forward pass. Five-yard penalty and loss of down, spotted from the previous line of scrimmage. So it’s 3rd-and-6 from the Team A 42.

INCORRECT. It’s an illegal forward pass, and it’s a five-yard penalty, but it’s 3rd-and-5 from the Team A 43. The quarterback gets that yard he gained; the penalty is marked from there.

17. Team A faces 4th-and-1 from its 34-yard line. While in punt formation, Team A has five players lined up in the backfield at the snap. The punt is downed at the Team B 25-yard line, untouched by Team B.

* I say five-yard illegal formation penalty, with the receiving team getting the option of a five-yard penalty from where the ball was down, to the Team B 30, or five yards from the previous line of scrimmage and making it fourth down again.

CORRECT

18. First down at the Team A 48. After a first down but without substituting, Team A is lined up prior to the snap. The middle linebacker runs on the field late and the replaced defender is running off the field and is at the numbers when Team A snaps the ball. The quarterback throws an incomplete pass to a receiver at the Team B 47.

* I say 15-yard penalty against Team B for too many men on the field. The ball goes to the Team B 37.

INCORRECT. The penalty is only five yards. So it’s at the Team B 47.

19. With 29 seconds left in the second quarter, Team A has first down at its 45, with two timeouts remaining. The quarterback drops straight back in the pocket on the left hash mark, and while under pressure, throws the ball from the Team A 39-yard line straight downfield, and it lands at the Team B 12-yard line. There is no Team A player within 30 yards of where the pass lands. At the end of the play, the clock is at 0:22.

* I say incomplete pass. If they call intentional grounding, I think it’s a travesty. You can’t get in someone’s mind and know if they were supposed to be running that route.

INCORRECT. It’s intentional grounding. Bad rule. A guy breaks off his route, or goes the wrong way, lots of things can happen. There are easier ways to get rid of the ball than fling it 40 yards.

20. Team A has 2nd-and-10 from the Team B 30. The shotgun quarterback takes the snap and from the Team B 35-yard line throws a pass to a running back who catches the ball at the 37. The running back then throws a second pass to a receiver in the end zone for a touchdown. After the touchdown, the receiver makes an immediate and spontaneous salute to his own fans in the end zone, not directed at any opponent. During the first pass, the right offensive tackle reaches out and tackles the defensive end, preventing him from getting to either passer.

* I say the passes were all legal and the salute was legal, but it’s offensive holding. Ten-yard penalty, spotted from the line of scrimmage. So it’s 2nd-and-20 from the Team B 40.

CORRECT

21. Team A has 2nd-and-10 at the Team B 40. The shotgun quarterback throws a pass to the left, which is caught by a slot receiver at the Team B 35, and he is tackled at the Team B 32. Before the pass, the wide receiver on the left lined up just outside the slot receiver, releases downfield and initiates contact and blocks a defender at the Team B 33, preventing the defender from covering the slot receiver.

I say offensive pass interference. 15-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage.

CORRECT

22. Team A has 3rd-and-4 at the Team B 49-yard line. The quarterback drops back to the Team A 43 and throws a pass that falls incomplete at the Team B 45. During the play, a blitzing linebacker lowers his head and strikes the QB with the crown of his helmet into the helmet of the QB, just after he releases the pass.

* I say 15-yard targeting penalty, the linebacker is ejected, if not hung, drawn and quartered. First down at the Team B 34.

CORRECT

23. Team A has first-and-goal at the Team B 10. The quarterback pitches the ball to a tailback, who is tackled for a loss at the Team B 13. Well after the quarterback pitches the ball, a linebacker lowers his head and thrusts himself upward to contact, with the crown of his helmet, the quarterback’s facemask.

* I say 15-yard targeting penalty. The linebacker is ejected, where he has to share a cell with the bozo from Question 22. The penalty is spotted from the line of scrimmage, so it’s half the distance to the goal. First-and-goal from the 5-yard line.

CORRECT

24. Team A has 2nd-and-10 from the Team B 47-yard line. The quarterback completes a long pass to a receiver at the Team B 5-yard line, and he continues on and is tackled in the end zone for a touchdown. Immediately after scoring, the receiver takes the ball and spikes it with force into the ground in the end zone.

* I say 15-yard line unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The defense gets the choice – 15 yards on the extra point try, or 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.

CORRECT

25. First down at the Team A 23. The Team A quarterback catches a swing pass at the Team 22 and runs to the Team B 4-yard line, where is forced out of bounds. While pursing the play, the side judge runs into a Team B player who was not one of the 11 competitors on the play but who is standing in the middle of the white sideline border at the Team B 28. This contact causes the side judge to stumble and trip, but he does not go down. However, this significantly affects his ability to continue officiating the play.

* I say sideline warning. Seems like it might be a judgment call.

INCORRECT. Sideline infraction. Half the distance to the goal, so the ball is placed at the 2-yard line.

BONUS I: Team A faces 2nd-and-9 at the Team B 35-yard line. Team A has substituted and Team B is in the process of replacing players to match up as Team A sets in position. The umpire is in front of the center with his hand up in a STOP position, and the referee has his arms extended, holding up play by rule, allowing Team to substitute. As Team B players are going off the field and Team B substitutes are moving to their position, a wide receiver false starts by abruptly starting downfield.

* I say five-yard false start penalty on the offenses. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this play.

INCORRECT. No foul. Redo the snap. Which when you think about it is proper. When it’s anarchy, let’s get everyone settled down.

BONUS II: Team A faces 4th-and-1 at the Team A 26-yard line. Team A punts, and the returner catches the punt at the Team B 20 and is immediately tackled at the Team B 21-yard line. But a member of the receiving team is wearing the same number as the punt returner and blocks a Team A player during the play.

* I say illegal procedure, duplicate number. Five-yard penalty, first down for Team A.

CORRECT


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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