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.)