OFFICIATING ISSUES

Plays from 2008 Officiating Season

Issue #1: 

 

 

 

 

Plays from 2005 Officiating Season

Issue #1:  Blocking below the waist on "shotgun" formation plays.

FROM JON GUSTAFSON:

During our Madisonville clinic last Saturday, we discovered an inconsistency in how we as an Association are calling blocks in the free-blocking zone (FBZ) during "shotgun" formation.

One group (good, top, experienced officials) feel that when the offense is in a "shotgun" formation, the ball leaves the FBZ on the snap and there is NO possible way for a lineman to use the FBZ provisions to block below the waist. Thus the thought "no cut blocks in shotgun formation".

Another group (good, top, experienced officials) feel that on the "initial charge", the FBZ is still present, even on a long snap that leaves the FBZ, such as in "shotgun" formation.

We did discuss that the rule says "leaves the free blocking zone", not "shotgun formation", but some crews, and some coaches it turns out, are using the "shotgun" formation as a surrogate concept for "ball leaving the FBZ". Similarly, the idea of "initial charge" is a surrogate for "ball leaving the FBZ".

Our goal is CONSISTENCY and nobody was arguing that they "knew" their position was correct. We would solicit your input on this matter so we can call consistently week to week and crew to crew.

RESPONSE FROM JULIAN TACKETT:

I think for sure the second group wins. If your initial movement takes you low on a block while the ball is in the air on the snap, it is going to be near impossible to stop on a dime and not finish your block.  The biggest difference though is that you only have that split second to initiate the block. Even the very second it takes to "find" the man you are going to hit makes it an illegal block.

BOTTOM LINE: 

If offensive linemen fire off the ball at the snap and, without any sort of delay at all, block below the waist, the contact may be legal.  If the lineman delays in executing the block, even if it is just momentarily to locate someone to block, it becomes illegal because the ball has left the FBZ.

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Issue #2:  Murray High Play situation:

The following comment came from Mike Walker who had their first game (Pella Bowl): Murray High will try to simulate a snap from punt formation to draw the d offsides, he told us about the play before the game . We talked about it and it was an illegal play. This might help the officials who have Murray in the next few weeks. (Mike Walker)

I saw the play from the stands. The executed play was clearly a foul. The shift in position of the linemen was fast, sudden, not similar to what they had been doing, simulated action at the snap and clearly intended to draw B into the neutral zone. It was 4th and 2 at the time. Mike and his crew made the right call. (Jon Gustafson)

If the movement is quick it is a false start.  If the movement is slow the interior offensive line can shift as long as their hands not near or on the ground when they start. A good rule of thumb is that if the movement is only done on 4th down, then it is probably done to draw the defense offsides. Also benefit of doubt must be given to offense if defense does not jump off sides, Do not call false start on offense if the defense does not jump. It might be hard to justify false stare if defense does not jump offsides. (Joe Lewis)

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