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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 08:26am
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High School-TE Blocking Below Waist/Cut Block

I coach in North Carolina and it was my understanding, I think 2 years ago, that a new rule under the NFHS Ruling Guidelines that it was illegal for a Tight End to cut block below the waist. I think I also remember some changes to the Free Blocking Zone. Can someone please enlighten me on this subject.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 10:09am
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Originally Posted by Rolling Wolf View Post
I coach in North Carolina and it was my understanding, I think 2 years ago, that a new rule under the NFHS Ruling Guidelines that it was illegal for a Tight End to cut block below the waist. I think I also remember some changes to the Free Blocking Zone. Can someone please enlighten me on this subject.
The free blocking zone is 4 yards to either side of the snap and 3 yards in advance of and behind the LOS. He may block below the waist against an opponent as long as both he and the opponent are on the line and in the zone at the snap, the contact occurs within the zone, and the zone has not disintegrated yet (i.e., the ball has not left the zone). Note: if you have a guard, tackle, and TE on one side of the center, it would have to be a very tight formation to get the TE inside the FBZ before the snap.

But, with an unbalanced formation where you just have a guard and TE on one side of the snapper, the TE is usually within the free blocking zone. It doesn't matter what the player's designated position is (TE in this case), just whether or not he meets the above criteria.

The most recent change to the free blocking zone says that clipping is now illegal even inside the zone. But I must say I haven't seen a clip inside the free blocking zone since 'Nam. Others may have.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 10:14am
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The only changes I know of are that you cannot clip anymore in the FBZ like you used. Nothing about the TE explicitly unable to BBW. Unless there is a local interpretation, there was nothing national. Some TEs because of splits would be in the zone.

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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 10:38am
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Unless the TE is lined up split wide from the tackle, we usually put the TE in the zone at the snap for consistency purposes.

Any part of the player in the zone is in the zone.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 11:31am
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Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Unless the TE is lined up split wide from the tackle, we usually put the TE in the zone at the snap for consistency purposes.

Any part of the player in the zone is in the zone.
That's interesting (no sarcasm intended). Our association puts the TE outside the zone unless the splits are narrow. I wonder how divided this actually is from state to state.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 11:49am
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Let's assume that each player's shoulders are 2 feet wide without any shoulder pads or anything on. (probably pretty close). Let's say 3 feet wide adding in shoulder pads and a bit of extra space. That's 1 yard.

So, if Center-Guard-Tackle-Tight End are lined up basically touching each other's shoulder pads, you've got 1/2 (center) + 1 (guard) + 1 (tackle) + 1 (TE) = 3 1/2 yards to the outside of the TE, so the TE would be in the zone.

If we're talking "normal" splits, you're probably looking at closer to 1.5 (center) + 2 (Guard) + 2 (tackle) = 5.5 yards, meaning the TE is outside of the blocking zone.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 01:07pm
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Thanks for the information guys. I have had a couple of referees tell me that a TE could no longer block below the waist. I knew the dimensions of the free blocking zone and the change you pointed out about no clipping is the change I have forgotten. We run 2 foot splits and with our blocking scheme we rarely need our TE's to cut block but I had abandoned it all together based on what I was told. From what I am reading from you guys, this seems to be an interpretation rule based on alignment of the TE. We face an opponent this Friday night who pull their backside guard and tackle and cut block with the TE and they use about 2 foot splits. I will be talking to the white hat before the game to get his interpretation and how he is going to call it. Again thanks.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 01:31pm
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Originally Posted by Rolling Wolf View Post
Thanks for the information guys. I have had a couple of referees tell me that a TE could no longer block below the waist. I knew the dimensions of the free blocking zone and the change you pointed out about no clipping is the change I have forgotten. We run 2 foot splits and with our blocking scheme we rarely need our TE's to cut block but I had abandoned it all together based on what I was told. From what I am reading from you guys, this seems to be an interpretation rule based on alignment of the TE. We face an opponent this Friday night who pull their backside guard and tackle and cut block with the TE and they use about 2 foot splits. I will be talking to the white hat before the game to get his interpretation and how he is going to call it. Again thanks.
2 foot splits between the C/G, G/T, and T/TE leaves no doubt in my mind that the TE is outside the free blocking zone and there should be a flag if he blocks below the waist. Also, the R will more than likely not be making this call in the game. The flag would most likely come from the umpire.

Last edited by VA Official; Tue Sep 05, 2017 at 01:37pm.
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Old Tue Sep 05, 2017, 01:43pm
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Thanks, I will meet with both so we have a clear understanding.
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Old Wed Sep 06, 2017, 11:24am
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Originally Posted by Rolling Wolf View Post
We face an opponent this Friday night who pull their backside guard and tackle and cut block with the TE and they use about 2 foot splits. I will be talking to the white hat before the game to get his interpretation and how he is going to call it.
Usually teams using that style of play go with OL with little or no space between them, so in the FBZ. The "shoeshine" (as in to give your center a quick shoeshine by reaching your hands toward his feet) or "Superman" block tries to cut everyone rushing between center and end. Another problem occurs if the center is trying to block back into that space, because that can result in an inadvertent high-low or low-low combination.

Also if the shoeshining player is late, he might clip an opponent who's nearly past the neutral zone, or who's still in the neutral zone but turned away from the blocker. When someone dives into a sea of legs, it's got to be hard to tell whether he's hit any in the back. How do you rule if you think the blocker has hit the back of one leg and the front of the other leg of the same opponent? Is that in the "back" as used in the definition of clipping?
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Old Thu Sep 07, 2017, 12:40pm
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Remember, if one toe of the tight end is in the FBZ than he is considered to be in the FBZ. Our association assumes the TE is in the zone.
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Old Fri Sep 08, 2017, 10:25am
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Speaking of the free blocking zone. I had a coach 2 games ago tell me that the defensive end can never be in the FBZ
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