“I just want ’em to enforce the rule they have.”

Hey, it’s Son of 10-Second Substitution Rule!

If it’s February, it must be time for a college football rules proposal — and the inevitable pushback.

Several prominent coaches are riled up about a proposal, passed last week by the NCAA Football Rules Committee, that would reduce the distance offensive linemen can be downfield on a pass play from 3 yards to 1 yard beyond the line of scrimmage. The proposal came about after the rise of so-called “pop” passes or “packaged” plays, in which a quarterback has the option to run or pass, but linemen block as though it’s a run.

Enter the usual suspects.

The amount of opposition to the current proposal isn’t clear. But coaches including Graham, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and Baylor’s Art Briles told USA TODAY Sports they’re asking that the proposal be withdrawn. Instead, they’d like officials to make the current rule a “point of emphasis,” calling it tightly and throwing flags if linemen stray beyond the 3-yard boundary.

Malzahn, Freeze and several others have called Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chair of the football rules committee, to express their opposition. They’re also making their view known in official comments to the rules committee during a two-week feedback period that began Thursday. If it isn’t tabled, the proposal is scheduled to be considered March 5 by the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

“This is the second year in a row I’ll be involved in (pushing back against a proposal),” Freeze said.

All we’re missing to square the circle is Bert shedding crocodile tears about players’ health.

You know what’s funny – all these coaches acknowledging the refs have done a crappy job enforcing the rule, and we got stuck with this.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

12 responses to ““I just want ’em to enforce the rule they have.”

  1. I agree that consistent enforcement of the current rule instead of allowing Guards to run seam routes down the field on what ends up being a pass play would go a long way towards fixing the issue. But then, that would require officials who can consistently enforce something. Of course, to that point, I’m not sure how much changing the rule will help regardless.


  2. James Stephenson

    Haha, of course those guys are worried, they are playing with a stacked deck. If this rule is enforced, we will see the spread slow down a lot.


  3. SouthGaDawg

    Rules are always evolving. I think what’s more important is the referees’ interpretation of the rules. The way I see it too often at the high school, college, and pro levels is how inconsistent the referees are from game to game.


  4. Uglydawg

    It was insult to injury when Georgia was called for this…when Auburn depends on it being overlooked in order for their offense to be effective.
    Of course Gus doesn’t want it changed…it’s like the speed limit where 55 means your safe to go 70. Make it one yard and you will be limited given three…. Still, some refs will call it subjectively.
    But for Auburn, they can still run it out of a pass blocking scheme…they just can’t pass out of a run blocking scheme…Imagine that..just like everyone else.
    If you run an offense that requires rules to be stretched or overlooked for it to work, you’re asking for special treatment..
    I hope GT’s bubble bursts the same way.


  5. 69Dawg

    How many years ago was the rule changed to give the lineman 3 yards. Hell we were coached to fire out then engage and hold on. There was no way it was 3 yards back in the day. How are the head linesman and the line judge suppose to know in the heat of the play how far down the field 5 lineman are. This 3 yard rule results in one of two things happening. Either the official stays on the line of scrimmage and estimates where 3 yards down field is ( he must also watch to make sure the QB does not pass the LOS on a throw and whether a pass is forward or not) or he moves down field and looses the actual LOS for the other calls. No wonder this is only a call made while being UGA. Hell when most of the QB’s get in trouble on these crazy run pass option plays the lineman are going down field on a count. The downside I guess is that the tunnel screen is going to be a risky call if the officials GAS about this call.


    • I believe that as long as the ball is caught behind the line of scrimmage down field blocking by any offensive player is still allowed. This rule does not have any bearing on screen plays.


  6. Cosmic Dawg

    I am sure someone can explain this to me – why we need any rule about this at all? Why not just let them go wherever they want so long as they don’t catch a pass? Wouldn’t all teams be equally (dis)advantaged?


    • Because it’s not the way the game is meant to be played – defense is played off reads and reactions. If a linebacker sees a lineman coming downfield at him, he knows it’s a run. Otherwise, he knows to drop into his coverage responsibility.


      • Macallanlover

        Yes, the offense hardly deserves any more advantage in today’s game than it currently has. Of course, when you go back and look at the OL downfield call against UGA that cost us a TD, you have to wonder of the officials cannot understand the current rule, which has been in place for decades, how could they catch on to a change? I swear the reason that call was made against us was because we had warned the officials that the other team would try that, it was like a revenge fuck for them to call it on us for asking that they do their job. You could not have made that call and thought we were three yards down field, it wasn’t even close.


    • ASEF

      If a blocker hits a LB 4 yards downfield, the safety is coached to read run play and attack the ball-carrier. As things currently stand, if the QB then pulls up and lobs a pass over his head, then the defense was penalized for playing by the rules, and the offense got away with one. Yes, you could just rescind the rule and make the safety chase the WR until the QB crosses the line of scrimmage, You could also change the rule to make blocking LBs on pass plays unquestionably illegal. You could also change the rule to let the QB throw whenever he wants, forward or backwards, over the line of scrimmage or not, and let his blocker go anywhere they want. You could make all 11 guys eligible every play. All would disadvantage teams equally. It just depends on what kind of game you want to watch.

      Defenses look increasingly hapless, and it’s not because the offensive coaches are all suddenly geniuses and the defensive coaches fools. The rules have been adjusting in favor of offenses for over a decade now, and I personally think the balance has shifted too far.


  7. Michael

    It’s amusing that Troy Calhoun is the head of the rules committee dealing with ineligible men downfield issues because his Air Force teams routinely violate that rule. Scroll to the bottom of this UFR for a discussion of that fact: