Forget the 10-second rule.

You want to talk about something that gives the offense a ridiculous advantage over the defense?  Take it away, Corch.

Ohio State’s coach uses the board to answer a question about the latest offensive trends in college football.

The second-level zone read has his attention. In the traditional zone read, the quarterback reads the defensive end to dictate whether he’ll hand off or run. In this version, the quarterback is reading the linebacker.

“That’s going to not disappear,” Meyer says. “It’s even in the NFL now. The NFL doesn’t give you three yards.”

College does — as in, officials allow linemen to get up to three yards downfield before a throw. If the linebacker bites inside, the quarterback can throw to the open space with a slant, hitch, out or whatever the pattern dictates. Meanwhile, linemen already are downfield to block.

That’s nice.  Packaged plays are effective.  They’re even more effective when the officiating inconsistently enforces that three-yard cushion.  Which happens pretty regularly, based on what I saw on TV last season.  And it sounds like I’ll see more of it.

Meyer estimates 25 teams or so use the second-level concept. He thinks Rich Rodriguez might have started it. Auburn is good at it.

“Probably next year — 50 (teams),” said Meyer…

This has nothing to do with substitution or pace.  It is about taking advantage of a rule and lax enforcement.  Perhaps it’s another good reason to increase the size of officiating crews.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

19 responses to “Forget the 10-second rule.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Give the slimy jerk his due, he knows offense.

  2. Rp

    I think the good guys are ready to be 1 of the 50 this year. Our personnel would be well suited to that approach.

  3. uglydawg

    So it works the same way as offensive holding?

  4. Rival

    I guess I don’t understand this rule. Further explanation? How is this enforced?

    • Illegal man downfield penalty.

      • Rival

        Oh, okay. Colleges have more leeway* until that is called. Got it.

        *as defined by which side of the bed your ref awoke

        • Exactly. Lineman leak downfield. S and LB think that must mean run play, at which point the QB pulls back and hits a wide open receiver who has plenty of room to run, and blockers already out there with him in the lineman who crept to the second level.

        • The Lone Stranger

          That killer play to tie the game that The Barn pulled off vs. Bama comes immediately to mind here. That was when the RB (I think) leaked out to the sideline and sucked in a looping toss just over some indecisive LBer.

  5. It’s interesting that of all the possible rule changes talked about, you never hear anyone proposing eliminating allowing the linemen downfield before a pass is thrown. I’m guessing that’s because all coaches have that as a pretty integral part of their offense…….even teams like us, who use it to our advantage a good bit on screens. No coach that I can remember has ever even brought it up for debate, so I guess they all want to keep it.

    Pollack was talking about that when he was breaking down Auburn’s offense last year. He was talking about how hard it is to defend those concepts, because in the example Corch outlined above, if you are reading your keys as a defender, all the keys are telling you it’s a run. So you do everything you’re “supposed” to do, then next thing you know the QB pulls up and tosses it and it goes for a big play. Gonna be interesting to see how defensive coaches adjust the keys to combat that.

    • Clarification, I said you never hear “anyone” proposing eliminating the linemen downfield, I was referring to the coaching community. I’ve definitely seen fans suggest it including some of the commenters on this blog.

  6. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if Bobo is packaging many base runs with slants and hitches for Mason. In fact, in some of the few videos and pictures from spring practice this year, you can see Mason’s eyes looking downfield during a hand off instead of at the runningback as if he were making a read.

  7. 69Dawg

    Why make a rule that your not going to enforce? The holding on a pass play has become ridiculous and the Ref/Umpire are just ignoring it. If the defensive lineman wore tear away jerseys they would have to come out after every play. It has gone from “are the O lineman’s hands outside the shoulders” to is the O lineman tackling the D lineman. Inconsistent calls are the worst.

    • uglydawg

      Agree, 69D. Same sort of thing….and it’s called arbitrairily…like celebrating and sideline penaltys. This is why I would love a rule that lets each coach “blackball” an official or a crew from doing his teams games for a specific time frame. If a ref gets blackballed by three coaches he’s fired. Of course you would need film to show the official’s misdeed(s) and you would need an unbiased judge to decide if the complaint was valid. That could be a retired ref from another conference (for instance) or Judge Judy. (kidding). It’s a concern that UGA people are especially on edge about. (Remember CMR getting flagged for saying “That’s crap” when Georgia got screwed out of a fumble recovery? And we’ve all seen other coaches red faced and using the F word to officials with no consequenses. I think something needs to be put in place to keep officials honest…some officials.

  8. Corch is a jerk, but he absolutely has this one right. They need to change the rule to the pro rule where you can’t block downfield, period until the ball leaves the QB’s hand.

    • uglydawg

      I can the official now. “I just didn’t see it, coach”. That’s how easy it is to (for lack of a better word) cheat.

    • Dave

      I actually like the 3 yard rule….but it’s not consistently enforced. The Auburn tying touchdown against Bama to make it 28-28, if you go back and watch, they had a guy 4.5 yards downfield on the play….easy call, missed.

      • The Lone Stranger

        Guess I ought to have kept on reading! But that’s how I recall it as well.

      • The game moves too quickly for the officials to make the call on the 3 yard rule consistently. The only time you ever see an ineligible downfield call made is if the offense either lines up incorrectly and covers up an eligible receiver or the QB scrambles for so long the linemen have already begun to run downfield. The rule clearly takes all of the reads of a running play and turns them into pass plays.