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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 08:57am
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As a coach, I am not sure, even after having re-read the rule book, what the correct call is, so I thought I would pose this question on this board.

1. A has 2 and 10 from B 30.
2. A throws interception to B.
3. B returns the ball to B 23 then fumbles.
4. A recovers.
5. Officials mark the ball ready to play in A possession, but as a 3rd and 3. Rationale provided: down begins with A in possession, down ends with A in possession, line to gain was not acheived, therefore, no new series awarded.

But as I reviewed the Rule book, it seems to me that rule 5-1-3-d specifically applies:
"The team in possession at the end of the down, if there is a change of team possession during the down, unless the penalty is accepted for a foul which occurred before the change of possession."

There were no penalties on the play. It seems very clear to me that a new series should have been awarded...first and 10 for A at the B 23.

As it turned out, this particular call did not cost us the game...but it could have.

Any thoughts on the correct call?
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 09:44am
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You've got it right. Should have been first and ten.
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 09:50am
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It would also be 1st and 10 for NCAA as well. This type of play can catch you off guard as an official and everyone needs to be alert as to what occured. If you see something like that in the future it may just take a coaches conference with the referee and he should realize the mistake and correct it.
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 10:16am
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After change of possession, it will be first and 10 for someone.

Thanks for asking. I like it when coaches get involved in rules discussions. (not on the field)
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 10:24am
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One additional detail, however. The clock will start on the ready due to a new series for A...NOT on the snap, despite the two changes of possession.

It starts on the snap only if B is awarded a new series.
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 10:41am
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rdfox,

I have seen some discussion about this "double change of possession" (possibly on this message board) clock starting on ready to play, but I can't find that in the rule book any where. I don't doubt that it exists (because it seems logical to me), however I have been unable to find it. Please advise what section covers this. Thanks.
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 10:46am
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JustMy - read the section about the clock. If the play does not fit into the descriptions of plays where the clock starts on the snap, then it starts on the ready.

Also - consider the reasons we start the clock on the snap instead of the ready. In the situations where we start on the snap, there is usually a long expected delay (offense leaving the field as defense comes on (change of possession); most players off the field (out of bounds); many players far downfield needing to return to initial LOS (incomplete pass), etc). In this situations, the right personnel are on the field, and there is no anticipated long delay. I realize this is not actually written into the rules this way ... but it's the intent of the rules as written, and is consistent with starting on the ready on the described play.
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Old Thu Oct 16, 2003, 11:04am
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That makes perfect sense, Mike. Thanks.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 07:20am
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Mike,

I asked our game officials before our game Friday night about this particular instance. The ruling that we were given (NFHS rules) was that the clock will not start on the ready. They interpret the rules to mean that any change of possession requires the clock to start on the snap vice the ready.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 08:24am
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Quote:
Originally posted by JustMy2Cents
Mike,

I asked our game officials before our game Friday night about this particular instance. The ruling that we were given (NFHS rules) was that the clock will not start on the ready. They interpret the rules to mean that any change of possession requires the clock to start on the snap vice the ready.
REPLY: Not true! NF 3-4-3 says that the clock starts on the snap when a new series is awarded to B only -- not to Team A. In your play, the new series was awarded to (or was supposed to be awarded to) Team A. Clock on the ready.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 09:29am
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Bob,

That is the exact rule that I brought up with the set of officials working our game Friday night. And they said, as Mike pointed out, that the INTENT of the rule is what matters -- change of possession, clock starts on the snap. As a matter of fact, I read the officials the entire section of clock starting on the snap. After which, the WH took the rule book from me and read it for himself. Then WH gave us the interpretation that they would use in the game -- that the clock would start on the snap.

By the way, this was not confrontational discourse. This happened before the game, when we were going over the the preliminaries, such as how long halftime will be, etc. In fact the crew working the game hadn't even gotten dressed yet. I don't want to give the wrong impression, that this happened during the middle of the game on the sideline with me pulling out the rule book to prove the officials wrong. I don't think I gave that impression, but I wanted to make sure that I was perfectly clear about it.

Do you see why coaches can get frustrated about these situations?
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 10:10am
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I hope your official talked it over with someone else after the game... because he was wrong.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 10:49am
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I like The Official Forum because I see lots of real situations and I get a chance to see others discuss it. Good food for thought. It forces me to get into the rule book. I have my book right next to my computer.

After reading the discussion about starting the clock after 2 changes of possession on the same down (NF), I have to say that it should start on the ready for play. When all else fails, I go to the rule book. 3-4-2a and 3-4-3b We don't have any discretion in setting aside the rules.

It makes sense. A already has the ball. No need to give extra time. I am sure the rules committee thought of this way back when, when this rule was put in.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 11:11am
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This is a very interesting discussion. One of things I have done over the years is keep a library of rule and case books for just this kind of situation.

The rule regarding when the clock starts was changed in 1996. The reason for the change was referees often varied their time in starting the play clock when a change of possession occurred, especially, near the end of a game. The rule change was made to "correct this inconsistent pattern of timing based upon making the ball ready-for-play." By starting the clock on the snap, a referee would not have to adjust is timing because of the situation.

That said, I would start the clock on the snap because even though A retains possession there was an intervening possession change during the down and the start of a new series. The clock, by rule, will be stopped to move the chains. But, the players and coaches may be in chaos because of the multiple change of possessions and that meets the spirit and intent of the rule.

I could be incorrect and would love to see a case situation presented.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 11:49am
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Mr Ed.
If you have a copy of the 2002 Officials Study Guide for NFHS Football Rules 2002, then case play 7-5 on page 59 is just what the doctor ordered.


A gets a first down and the clock starts on the ready.
It pains me to read that we have officials that make errors on what seems to me to be a very basic play situation.
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