The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent in the San Gabriel Valley.
Guru Writes: When I started to get ideas for what to write this week, I was stumbling a bit. You can only talk college recruiting so much. I wanted to do something that was going to be beneficial to coaches, players and parents. And then it hit me like a sack of bricks.
As we all know football officiating is one of the thankless jobs of the year. You get criticized and yelled at and the stipend are anywhere from $60 to $80. So for this column I wanted to know what the points of emphasis is going to be for the upcoming season and other things. There is one man I know I could call on… Tracy McFate. He is the assigner for the Foothill Citrus Division in Southern California and has been officiating games for a very long time.
“We love the game, just like the players, coaches and fans,” McFate said. “The game has gotten so fast and more sophisticated. So our guys have to do a great job of staying on top of the game and getting better. And with all the video that is available to us, there is no reason why we can’t get better as a unit.”
One of the things that McFate has noticed is that the number of people that want to be officials are up. Right now, he estimates that their are 150 football officials in Foothill Citrus. “We saw the numbers come up two years ago and lot of that is tied to the economy,” McFate said.
One thing that you notice about McFate when you get him on the phone is that he knows his stuff. Besides working HS games during the week, he does college games on Saturday and on Sunday’s he’s part of the staff that works with Mike Periera (former NFL head of officiating and a consultant for Fox) in the Fox Studios watching his assigned game and bringing controversial calls to Periera’s attention. “That is one of the best things that could have happened to me,” McFate said. “You look at the game from a totally different level, and it just makes you a better referee.”
That doesn’t mean what you see on Sunday will be called on Friday nights. “One thing that people have to understand is that the game that you see on Sundays is not the same game you see on Friday night,” McFate says. “There are rules in the NFL that are not in our rulebook on the high school level. And that’s something that the fans have to understand. Just because they are calling it on Sunday’s doesn’t mean we call it on Friday.”
When asked what is still the toughest play to call, it was real easy for McFate to give the answer. “Holding. Without question. The way that we try to call it is ‘Did the offensive player impede the defensive player to making the tackle?’ For our crew, its such a tough call to make. But our guys do a good job in enforcing it.”
So what are the new rules for the 2011 season? “Not a whole lot,” McFate said. “First thing is that there is a CIF state rules that states that if a team is up by 35 points or more in the fourth quarter, there will be a running clock. In the past, if the opposing coach requested it and it was ok with the team that was winning, then we would do it. Now, we have a rule to work off of.
“One of the new rules that players have to know is that they can’t have anything on their eye black. They can use the eyeblack, but there can’t be any writing on it,” McFate says. “One of the other things we have done is redefined the chop block. A chop block is now combination block by two players with or without delay. Keep in mind that it also can be called on the defense as well as the offense. But I don’t the coaches in our area teach the chop block.”
One thing that McFate wanted to get across to the fans is that the less the officials are noticed the better. “We are their to make sure that team A doesn’t have an advantage over Team B when it comes to the rules. The less we are noticed, the better.”
There is so much that McFate and myself talked about in our 50 minute conversation; it was great. So in our next column, we will finish up on what is being looked at closely this season.
10 things I think I think….
1) I think that I’m so glad that the 7 on 7 season is over. I glad it’s over for several reasons.
a) I think 7 on 7s have gone out of control on a regional and national basis. The reason that you go 7 on 7 is to work on your passing game for Friday nights. You don’t work on your passing games on plays that YOU WON’T do on Friday nights. I can’t remember a time of year when I would go to four-way or a passing league tournament and have uttered the words, “you won’t see that on Friday night,” so many times. That’s why it’s very hard to take so teams very seriously if they are not running the stuff you are going to run when the leaves turn brown. But, hey I’m not a head coach (and don’t pretend to play one on TV) so if coaches in the area want to run stuff in the summer so that they have a false sense of security, I have two words to say, “Rock on.”
b) At tournament time, sportsmanship gets thrown out of the window. For the second straight year in a row, their were teams arguing and fighting each other at the Claremont Tournament. Teams need to calm their heads and cheer for their own. It gets pretty ridiculous when you have players from each teams getting into each other’s “grill.”
So when the passing league season is over, count me as the first one at the bar at Chili’s.
2) I think that pretty much every team is set for the fall. One of the things that I’ve noticed through the years is that summer football at the high school level is pretty much spring football at the college level (sans the helmets and shoulders pads, of course). Let’s face it, you work the entire summer to set up your depth chart. After six weeks of football, I can totally bet that all the teams in the area pretty much have an idea on who is where on the depth and who is going to take the majority of the snaps when the season starts. Now, can anything happen when the pads go on? No question… And their will be one change (maybe two if your lucky) on the chart, but after the third day in pads, teams pretty much have their charts set and will be prepping their players for their scrimmages and/or week 0 games. And I thank Urban Meyer for pointing that out on ESPN during the spring.
a) I had one Florida high school coach tell me at the USC Rising Stars camp, “are you people in California stupid. We practice in full gear in the spring for seven days and you really get to know who can play and who can’t. Plus our kids get offers during the spring. Boy, are you guys backwards around here.” Couldn’t agree more.
3) I think that you can count me as a huge fan of Kurt Scoby. After I had written in my last column that I thought his hips were really tight and that he needed more hip flexibility, he came up to me last week and said, “coach, I just wanted to let you know that I read what you wrote and I’m working on that right now.” I love it. A player who doesn’t get his feelings hurt, knows that it’s constructive criticism, and learns to make it a positive. There are a lot of people out there that should take note. A guy like that will always have a spot on my all-time football team.
4) I think that here are my thoughts on some of the teams that I saw this summer on the passing league circuit (except for Bishop Amat… and I hope you understand why)
a) Very impressed with Charter Oak. They have the athletes to make a lot of noise during the season. I thought their o-line and d-line were decent. That’s where they’ll make their hay during the year.
b) Don’t overlook Santa Fe High School. It’s easy to fall into the trap that they don’t have corners. I did and it’s fools gold. They have two very good corners and their safeties are just fine. They are coaches by Romeo Pellum (who is on his way to becoming one of the great young high school coaches in the area) and they will be more that competitive in league and in the playoffs.
c) I thought the two most overrated teams were Bonita and Glendora. As a matter of fact, I think Glendora will be lucky to win five games this year. I have to disagree with the high ranking that they were given by Aram.
d) South Hills will be just fine. And yes Aram, they do have college prospects.
e) I didn’t see West Covina this summer – but if all reports are true, the line on the Loyola game just went up from 14 to 17 points.
5. I think that at this time next year, you will see more teams go 11 on 11 during the summer. If you think I’m crazy, talk to Charter Oak and Bishop Amat who did 11 on 11 scrimmages this summer. I wasn’t at the Amat 11 on 11 scrimmage, but the Charter Oak staff seemed really happy that Crespi came down to do combined practice that concluded with 11 on 11 scrimmage. The atmosphere was great and as one Charter Oak assistant coach said at the end of the night, “This was great work for us.” Now, I’m not in favor of it in the spring, but in July – I’m all for it. You don’t see running back running seam routes between the center and the backside guard while the QB is rolling the opposite way…oops, I’m sorry – I got on that passing league tangent again.
6. I think that I really like the talking to stop when it comes to the Monrovia and Bishop Amat fans. I think that Monrovia has the makings of being a very good team. But, there is no way that they could handle the riggers of playing in the Serra League. Bishop Amat can because – quite frankly – they’ve done it in the past. Even Eric Sondheimer of the Los Angeles Times can’t pick a favorite in the Serra because every team looks really good. I’ve heard this talk in the past that this team can play Amat and every year an area team plays them gets totally whacked. And yes it will happen again this year.
7. I think that here is a good question for area fans. Who are the college prospects for the class of 2013?
8. I think that starting in the next column I will start widening out the breath of the column. With the Pasadena Star News and the Whittier Daily News joining the Trib preps blog, you’ll like my college prospect list a lot better.
9. I think I have a question for all those fans that really believe in passing leagues and tournaments, How did Servite do this summer?
10. I think that here are my non-area football thoughts and random musings…
a) I had a chance last week to spend two days in Malibu for the Elite 11 QB Camp that is run by NIKE. First off, if any team has a chance to go down there for a day, you should be all over it. The skill players get so much work done and get a ton of reps, it’s a totally awesome experience. Plus your players get extra exposure by Internet reporters. Plus the weather was 75 degree (at best). I had a chance to see Kellen Clemens of Boise State work out and let me tell you, this is a guy that doesn’t pass the eye ball test at all. But he is a heck of a QB and a heck of a person. I asked him how much time he spends watching film before a game and he said, “Well, on Monday we don’t practice so after a class in the morning, I’ll go in the QB room and watch film for 5 hours.” Just food for thought for all you area QB’s that want to be great. Here are my other Elite 11 QB thoughts…
i) Trent Dilfer is one of the great teachers of the game and has a passion for the game that is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever seen. He should be coaching, not behind a camera on ESPN.
ii) With apologies to Chris Rix, the best private QB coach that I’ve ever seen is George Whitfield. The man just flat out knows his stuff. He’s expensive, but is pretty darn good!
iii) Just remember the name Jake Rodrigues. He is committed to Oregon. This kid is a stud and is an easy kid to root for.
iv) It’s easy to cheer for Matt Cassell. He is one of the most humble quarterbacks that I’ve ever known. Personable and will always have time for anyone that asks.
b) I will now say it, the SGV is a baseball town. Sorry all you football fans. This area is always fertile ground for the best in high school baseball and with all the area players going to national exhibition games, I say let’s put a sign up that says, SAN GABRIEL VALLEY, BASEBALL TOWN, USA
c) Congrats to Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan and the USA Women’s Soccer Team for a game to remember against Japan. I was riveted to the TV just like the many of you. I was just disappointed that no mention Alex’s hometown high school made it to the Trib blog the next morning
d) I was at the bookstore several weeks ago and picked up the only magazine that is worth its weight for the upcoming college football season. That’s right, Phil Steele’s College Football preview magazine. Horribly under priced at 8.95, it puts all the other magazine’s to shame. Some insightful thoughts….
i) Great to see Keith Smith’s picture in the magazine after his amazing freshman season…
ii) He picks Notre Dame as one of his surprise teams of the 2011 season. Something tells me that they’ll choke against USC…
iii) When you read the preview page on Alabama, you can understand why he has them playing in the national championship game.
iv) And after reading the preview pages of Georgia and Boise State, you can see why Boise State’s game against Georgia in Atlanta is a make or break game.
v) And yes he has USC winning the PAC 12 south. But he also has UCLA winning eight games and going to a bowl game.
vi) And if he is correct, Rick Neuheisel and Dennis Erickson will be coaching next year.
vii) And for all you South Hills honks, Nick Lamaison will be starting quarterback for UTEP this year.
e) The best NFL reporter in the business is back from vacation… that means it’s time for all of us log on to si.com and read the one and only Peter King.
f) I don’t care who the heck you are, what a shame that the President of the United States calls the Speaker of the House and the answer on the other line is, “he’s unavailable right now.” Is there anything more rude than that? Now that the NFL strike has been settled, its pretty sad that they can resolve an NFL strike but they can stop the gridlock in Washington…pretty sad!
Talk to you in mid August!