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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 01:54pm
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Blocking Below The Waist

Last night we had our annual rules clinic. The state commissioner (I'm in LA) gave a very interesting interpretation/guidance/policy on blocking below the waist. He stated that if the QB was in the shotgun, lineman in the 3- and 4-point stances would be permitted to block below the waist on an immediate charge. Lineman in a 2-point stance (where the QB is in the shotgun) would not be permitted to block below the waist.

This really simplifies things from an officiating standpoint, we no longer will have to judge whether or not the low block was an immediate charge. Of course coaches won't be too happy because 90% of the time when a QB is in the shotgun, the linemen are in a 2-point stance.

What interpretations are there in other states?
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 02:10pm
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The Virginia head interpreter says that, in a shotgun formation, it's legal for the linesmen to block low if it's their initial charge at the snap, but that if they hesitate, they can't go low.
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 02:14pm
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Same in Wisconsin.

It's not that hard to officiate, really.
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 03:31pm
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There is a very specific comment in the case book about this as well. Not sure why your interpreter chose to vary from that by not allowing the player in a 2-point stance from executing a block that is legal.
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 03:55pm
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Originally Posted by bisonlj View Post
There is a very specific comment in the case book about this as well. Not sure why your interpreter chose to vary from that by not allowing the player in a 2-point stance from executing a block that is legal.
It's a proxy criterion to substitute for "the ball is quicker than the eye" determination of whether contact is initiated before the ball leaves the zone.
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 04:10pm
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In PA we're the same as VA and WI. He must fire out at the snap. Any delay is illegal.
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 04:16pm
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Lightbulb Canadian Ruling

BBW in Canada is illegal except:

- if the block occurs in the CLPA
- was executed by a player who was set in the CLPA at the time of the snap
- did not enter, leave, and re-enter the CLPA prior to the snap

What is the CLPA? It's the Close Line Play Area. It's a rectangle from tackle to tackle, 2 yards behind and beyond the LS. I think it's similar to the FBZ???
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 06:48pm
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In PA we're the same as VA and WI. He must fire out at the snap. Any delay is illegal.
Ditto for IL
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Old Thu Aug 13, 2009, 09:06pm
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Nebraska the same, though in our on-line rules meeting the speaker forgot to say it was when the QB is in shotgun, he just said any delayed block below the waist is illegal, but the slide showed the QB in the shotgun.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 09:44am
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There is a very specific comment in the case book about this as well. Not sure why your interpreter chose to vary from that by not allowing the player in a 2-point stance from executing a block that is legal.
His reasoning was that if the player was in a 2-point stance, the amount of time it would take for him to charge (whether immediately or not) would be more than the time it would take for the ball to get back to the shotgun QB. Thus, by the time the block would be initiated, the free blocking zone would have disintegrated - which would obviously make the block illegal.

I personally am happy with this interpretation because I always allowed these types of blocks (because of the case book guidance), but I never agreed with it. My reasoning is that the term 'immediate charge' leaves entirely too much gray area. Most of the time, in these shotgun situations, the tackles have a little stagger from the other linemen and as a result, the defensive lineman would then be about two yards away from the OT. The DL would then take 1-2 steps prior to the block being initiated - although acceptable (as per the case book), that block is clearly illegal. Also, I don't think it agrees with the intent of the rule.

To be perfectly honest, I think the rule should be that there will be no blocking below the waist unless the QB is in the position to receive the snap directly from the center. In my opinion, High School players are not skilled enough to properly execute these low blocks (hence the rule), so we shouldn't allow them - unless it truly is a bang-bang snap-block situation.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 11:18am
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Despite what the case book says, it has been determined around here that in a shotgun formation no blocks below the waist will be allowed. Our opinion is the ball is out of the zone faster than most linemen can react to the snap and start their "dive" which our local interpreter has confirmed via tape. Even simpler to officiate. In the preseason meetings with the coaches, this has been explained and acknowledged.
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Last edited by Mike L; Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 11:25am. Reason: because there's a difference between "waste" & "waist"
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 12:33pm
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Originally Posted by GPC2 View Post
To be perfectly honest, I think the rule should be that there will be no blocking below the waist unless the QB is in the position to receive the snap directly from the center. In my opinion, High School players are not skilled enough to properly execute these low blocks (hence the rule), so we shouldn't allow them - unless it truly is a bang-bang snap-block situation.
Would you be satisfied to have the snap end in the FBZ? This is satisfied by many thrown snap formations of the pistol, Wyatt wildcat, and single wing style.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 01:12pm
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Would you be satisfied to have the snap end in the FBZ? This is satisfied by many thrown snap formations of the pistol, Wyatt wildcat, and single wing style.
That sounds good Robert. I hadn't actually thought about it that way.

...and thanks Mike L, I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one that felt that way.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 01:23pm
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Would you be satisfied to have the snap end in the FBZ? This is satisfied by many thrown snap formations of the pistol, Wyatt wildcat, and single wing style.
I suppose it would depend upon where the receiver of the snap is standing and the action they take.
We've found in the "pistol", the QB tends to set up right about 3 yds back and is usually immediately moving back sometimes before he's even got the ball, which makes it essentially the same as the shotgun as far as the ball being out.
The wildcat? We havn't seen too much of that around here, but it would still depend on where he sets up and what action he takes with the snap. If he's falling back or fading back with a sweep motion, again I'd say the ball is out. If he's moving forward for a run, probably ok.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2009, 04:28pm
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I suppose it would depend upon where the receiver of the snap is standing and the action they take.
The snap is a loose ball, so it ends when, and where, it comes into a player's possession.

Quote:
We've found in the "pistol", the QB tends to set up right about 3 yds back and is usually immediately moving back sometimes before he's even got the ball, which makes it essentially the same as the shotgun as far as the ball being out.

The wildcat? We havn't seen too much of that around here, but it would still depend on where he sets up and what action he takes with the snap.
In the Wyatt wildcat, you have 2 QBs -- often one of them is called FB -- just barely far back of the snapper enough to be in the backfield.

Quote:
If he's falling back or fading back with a sweep motion, again I'd say the ball is out. If he's moving forward for a run, probably ok.
What's the big deal? You have to see if the ball leaves the FBZ. If it's carried out of the FBZ or thrown out of it, same thing. It's no harder than seeing whether the ball is in the end zone, for instance, when caught; it's still a TD if the ball is subsequently carried there.

The key to simplifying this unnecessarily complicated discussion is to remember that the position of a player without the ball makes no difference to judging whether the ball leaves the FBZ. You don't have to watch the player taking the snap at all, only the ball. Who cares whether the player was moving backward or forward or stationary at the time he caught it?

The only thing this proposed change would do is eliminate the difficult call or other proxy criteria where the snap ended outside the FBZ and the linemen charged with the snap. The ball would have been deemed to have been outside the FBZ before any BBW occurred.

Roberrt
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