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Old Mon Feb 19, 2007, 07:13pm
Robert Goodman Robert Goodman is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,824
Is the "shoeshine" BBW?

In a coaching forum I visit, frequent reference is made to a "shoeshine" block. To fill for as many as two pulling line players, an offensive line player to the inside or outside of them is told to give a teammate 2 or 3 positions over a quick shoe shine -- that is, to dive along the line of scrimmage, reaching out to where that teammate's feet lined up. This is a delaying tactic on the back side of a play. The shoeshining player winds up sprawled on the ground and the hope is that opposing rushers trip over hir. The idea is to prevent one of them from catching up to the ballcarrier from the back side. The dive allows the shoeshiner to cover ground far from hir position. Sometimes it's like making half a block (or less) against 2 opponents instead of a whole block against one. So if, for example, the guard & tackle on one side pull, the end can shine the center's shoes, or the center shine the end's shoes, to slow the penetration just enough to allow the ballcarrier to get away from there, while the pullers in between can concentrate on the point of the attack.

So is the "shoeshine" block considered blocking below the waist? The matter is inconsequential in the major codes, because under their conditions it would be legal in that location anyway. However, some women's & children's football rules either restrict BBW further or outlaw it entirely, so the question is germane there.

I could see it being ruled either way. The shoeshining player doesn't initiate the contact, but does present the body in the anticipated path of the opponent, and unless the opponent is sliding, the primary point of contact would occur below the waist. With the intent of the rule being to prevent knee injuries, it's still not clear. Tripping over someone does present some risk of injury to a knee, but not as much as being hit on a leg whose foot is on the ground.

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