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Bobref

“Disconcerting Acts” Do you know this rule?

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One of the new rules this year is that the penalty for the foul “disconcerting acts” has been reduced to 5 yds. from the previous 15. Even if you’ve been a high school football fan for many years, you may never have seen this called. But it’s a real thing, and it does happen. 

First, the Rule itself, 7-1-9:

“No defensive player shall use disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with A's signals or movements.”

Most are aware that the defense is not allowed to attempt to confuse the offense by calling out in a way that mimics offensive signals. But the rule involves more than that. Here’s a play from the 2020 Preseason Guide:

Play — 3rd & 10 at the A 40. While A1 is calling signals DB B1, starting from a position 8 yds. behind his line of scrimmage, runs toward the line of scrimmage. He stops just short of entering the neutral zone. In response to B1’s charge, offensive lineman A (a) doesn’t move, or (b) flinches.  Ruling — No foul in (a), but a 5 yd. dead ball foul on the defense in (b) if the covering official judges B1’s charge to be for the purpose of inducing a false start. If the covering official does not judge that to be B1’s intent, it is a 5 yd. dead ball foul on the offense for a false start.Noted football officiating authority George Demetriou, in the 2019 edition of Redding’s Study Guide to NFHS Football, says this about the rule:

”Team B cannot use disconcerting acts to induce a false start by Team A. The defense is allowed to shift to either side or from lineman to linebacker or vice versa. Also, linebackers or defensive backs who run toward the neutral zone attempting to time their blitz with the snap are not in violation.

However, defensive players are not permitted to feint a charge to provoke Team A linemen into moving. Team B players who are stationary within one yard of their line of scrimmage are prohibited from making quick non-football related movements in an obvious attempt to draw an offensive player into committing a foul.”

Love to hear some anecdotes from coaches, fans, officials, etc., about experiences with this rule. 

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We have seen it called a handful of times in our favor last few years.   Punt Snap, was one call,  Defense was trying to mimic our snap count on our Punt team, we got an automatic 1st down. 

Same with our offense, we have a very rhythmic cadence, Defense also tried to mimic it, got called for it. 

I want to say  sometime between 2010-2013, our offense may have been called for a penalty, we have a sent called "DOG" and our OL like to head to the line of scrimmage to bark when we call it.   We got nabbed there I believe 

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1 hour ago, Coach Nowlin said:

We have seen it called a handful of times in our favor last few years.   Punt Snap, was one call,  Defense was trying to mimic our snap count on our Punt team, we got an automatic 1st down

Same with our offense, we have a very rhythmic cadence, Defense also tried to mimic it, got called for it. 

I want to say  sometime between 2010-2013, our offense may have been called for a penalty, we have a sent called "DOG" and our OL like to head to the line of scrimmage to bark when we call it.   We got nabbed there I believe 

Although the penalty for this foul used to be 15 yds. (now 5), it was never an automatic 1st down.

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yeah yeah yeah...... 

It gave us the 1st down automatically due to the yardage received for penalty fell before the 15 yard march off!!   😀

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3 hours ago, Coach Nowlin said:

yeah yeah yeah...... 

It gave us the 1st down automatically due to the yardage received for penalty fell before the 15 yard march off!!   😀

I find your response disconcerting. 😜

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Several years ago working a playoff game between district rivals although one team was much better than the other. The underdog team though stepped up and made it a good game. In the first half I got a complaint from the home coach saying the defense was barking their signals causing his OL to false start. It's really hard to pick up on that in the middle especially with both teams calling out several different things pre-snap.

Late in the 2nd quarter home team is driving to get within one score. QB in shot gun and ball is snapped when he's not looking. Offense does recover it for a loss though. Home coach is going nuts saying they were calling their signals. Nothing jumped out at me unusual, but I tell the defensive linemen, "if you are doing what he said you are doing, you need to stop immediately. If I hear it, it's a 15-yard penalty." The future Rhodes Scholar on the DL (everyone knows the smart linemen play on offense) then tells his teammates, "OK guys, stop doing it." I was actually pissed because I now knew the home coach was right, but I wasn't able to pick up on it.

The game was more or less decided in the 4th quarter when home team offense false starts again. I didn't hear anything at all, but the offensive coaches were adamant they barked signals again. I have no idea if they did at that point, but one of the assistant coaches was standing in the middle of the field screaming at me. I should have flagged him 15 yards and possibly ejected him, but I just told him I didn't hear anything and to get back to the sideline. It was the end of a winless season and they were about to lose. I understood the frustration especially if he was right again.

 

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