“When you talk about it, it’s like a Republican-Democrat thing.”

Don’t blame me, blame Steve Shaw for the clickbait header.  “It” is the way coaches want officials to enforce rule that linemen can’t run three yards past the line of scrimmage at the moment the quarterback releases the ball.  With the rise of the run-pass option play, the whole thing is tough for officials.

Sometimes, however, a lineman runs past the 3-yard threshold. And with the existing commotion looking like a run play, it’s difficult for umpires and line judges to simultaneously monitor whether an offensive lineman is beyond three yards when the quarterback throws the ball.

A mess it may be, but leave it to Will Muschamp to propose an even bigger mess to fix the first mess.

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said an easy solution to this would be to make these plays reviewable.

“I do think that would be a good replay topic,” Muschamp said. “It’s real simple. The guy’s 10 yards down the field and the ball’s thrown. I coach the safeties. What do you tell those guys to do? You’ve got a guard running at you and a receiver.”

Do that, and you’ll add another ten minutes of dead time to a game.  Thanks, Boom, but I’ll pass.

Shaw mentions a rule change that might be of some help.

Shaw acknowledged the difficulty of recognizing when a lineman is in violation during an RPO. To create a better visual from an officiating standpoint, Shaw said there will be discussions about a potential rule change prior to the 2018 season.

As it stands now, linemen can’t run past 3 yards at the moment the quarterback releases the ball. The potential rule change would be that linemen can’t be beyond the 3-yard barrier when the football passes the line of scrimmage following a throw.

That would mean linemen would have to hold back even more on RPOs since extra time will elapse. It will also allow for a line judges to focus on the line of scrimmage instead of numerous spots.

“Where we’re seeing the difficulty is that run-pass option play — it’s not the fake and pop. It’s a fake, on the corner, then a throw,” Shaw said. “Then you got linemen drifting all over the places.”

Arguably, easier focus on the line of scrimmage should make for better enforcement.

(By the way, don’t miss the part where Smart says every opponent of Georgia’s last season ran RPO plays, except one.  Honestly, I’m a little surprised by the lone exception.)



Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

18 responses to ““When you talk about it, it’s like a Republican-Democrat thing.”

  1. Bulldog Joe

    I would not be surprised if we were the only exception on our opponent’s schedules as well.


  2. Castleberry

    I like the NFL rule and I like the idea of a review. Not sure how the review rules work – but if the coach has to initiate the review that should limit impact on game length.

    We’ve been burned on this both ways and the whole RPO premise bugs me when downfield isn’t called. I know I’m in the minority here, but it just doesn’t look right when linemen are downfield and the QB throws downfield. Will letting the QB throw forward pass over the line of scrimmage be the next “evolution”?


    • Mayor

      I guess we’re both in the minority ’cause I’m with you on this. If there is going to be a rule change, change the rule so O-linemen can’t cross the LOS before the ball is thrown at all.


  3. Bigshot

    They will wait until UGA decides to go to that offense before they make more rules.


  4. kevin fogarty

    Add an extra official who lines up 3 yards past the LOS and his sole job is to monitor lineman. If he is looking straight down HIS line (3 yds past the LOS) and he sees a lineman pass by that line and the ball is thrown then he flags it.


    • Macallanlover

      Agree, this is a serious enough problem to justify it considering the number of teams/play involved and the substantial change it makes to balancing defenses and offenses. Malzahn is one of the world’s worst to exploit this unfairness (quite a coincidence that he is at AU, right?)


    • jtp03

      Where would they get the money to hire a new offical? It’s not like they have any additional resources.


    • BosnianDawg

      But if he is only looking down the 3-yards-from-LOS-line, then how does he know when the ball is thrown? The issue is not that the line judge can’t see when a lineman crosses the line. It’s that he doesn’t know if the lineman is across it when the ball is thrown. Unless you change the rule as suggested in the article, this problem remains even with an extra official.


      • Castleberry

        Also have to keep in mind where the ball is caught. Receiver behind line of scrimmage means lineman can be wherever. Amirite?


      • Macallanlover

        Watch the QB, when a ball is thrown forward beyond LOS look at any hog past the three yard mark is in violation, you only need one. Wouldn’t take but a split second…and they ain’t moving all that fast. Should be a simple call, let the offensive coach challenge if they wish. Not necessary to call the borderline area, they aren’t confusing the DBs. It will quickly get corrected as a 10-15 yard penalty is a drive killer, coaches just need to know they are serious about enforcing that rule. Currently is is called so infrequently the payoff is worth the risk. If you see a flag 2-3 times a season, it will continue; call it 2-3 in a game and you won’t see it violated the next week. Like any lay/rule, make the punishment severe enough and increase the likelihood of being caught, problem will be minimized.


  5. The other Doug

    If the OL gets called for it often then they will stop doing it. It’s sort of like holding. They all hold because they know they can get away with it.


  6. Greg

    Would not surprise me to see Richt to stay at Miami 10 years or longer…..or at least, as long as he wants.


    • The Dawg abides

      You can say that again. You’d be wrong, but still you could post it in a third thread.


    • Mayor

      It depends on whether he wins enough. If he doesn’t win he’ll be gone. The Miami fanbase is more difficult than Georgia’s when it comes to that. The Canes’ fans are used to winning natties. They might be a little nicer to him when they ask him to leave because he is one of them but if he doesn’t win championships of some kind, at least ACC titles, he’ll be gone from there too.


  7. saildawg

    Why not just make the line of scrimmage the actual line of scrimmage. Why let the offense have those 3 yards to begin with. If the lineman is over the line of scrimmage when the ball is thrown, then it is a penalty. That would be easy to officiate (although the SEC would find a way to mess it up).


    • 69Dawg

      +1000 When did the rule change in college. The line of scrimmage was for ever the limit on a pass play. You could engage the defensive lineman but you had to backup after the hit or get called if a pass was thrown. The 3 yard rule is arbitrary and stupid. It’s hard to call because RPO’s are meant to trick everybody including the officials.