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Trick Plays


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I love gimmicks and gadgetry on the field, in large part because such plays often present a real challenge to the officiating crew. So, let’s collect and discuss trick plays here.

One of my favorites illustrates a difference between NCAA and high school rules. In this play, the holder’s knee never comes off the ground. Under the NF code, that would make the ball dead as soon as he passes it.

 

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27 minutes ago, tango said:

Is that a forward pass or lateral? Would it matter either way in HS? 

Without regard for the knee, it appears to be a lateral ... just slightly behind the holder's position at the time of the catch.

Probably wouldn't matter in HS as the ball is dead just like a short shotgun snap where the QB's knee comes in contact with the ground when trying to retrieve it. 

If it's allowed, on the other hand, it matters from a stat component, pass vs. run, and also if the receiver missed the ball.  If forward, it's an incomplete pass, but if it's a lateral, it's a live ball.

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29 minutes ago, foxbat said:

Without regard for the knee, it appears to be a lateral ... just slightly behind the holder's position at the time of the catch.

Probably wouldn't matter in HS as the ball is dead just like a short shotgun snap where the QB's knee comes in contact with the ground when trying to retrieve it. 

If it's allowed, on the other hand, it matters from a stat component, pass vs. run, and also if the receiver missed the ball.  If forward, it's an incomplete pass, but if it's a lateral, it's a live ball.

So the holder can have his knee on the ground to hold the kick, but knee must be off the ground to pass / lateral? 

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3 minutes ago, tango said:

So the holder can have his knee on the ground to hold the kick, but knee must be off the ground to pass / lateral? 

In NFHS, the holder must disengage his knee from the ground to do anything other than hold the ball for the kicker.  In a sense, he gets a "special allowance" to have his knee touch the ground as long as he's holding the ball for the kick so it isn't considered dead.  Anything other than that ... if he passes, laterals, shovels, or even hands the ball off, he must disengage the knee, or knees if he's on both knees, from the ground BEFORE doing it or the play is dead.

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5 hours ago, tango said:

Is that a forward pass or lateral? Would it matter either way in HS? 

And there is no such thing in the football rule book as a lateral. It's either a forward pass or backward pass. I know what you mean but lateral means same/sideways and not backward. It's coach/announcer speak and can be like nails on a chalkboard to officials.

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1 hour ago, MarkCalaway said:

https://www.hudl.com/library/34744# How would you have called this?

Looks like only 10 players on the field and only 6 on the LOS....assuming the number 3 receiver on the near side is on. If there is a 3rd guy on the line up top, it looks ok. But with only 6 on the line, it's an illegal formation. 
I am wondering, since you included the end zone view, were you thinking there is another issue? 

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1 hour ago, Irishman said:

But with only 6 on the line, it's an illegal formation. 

6 on the line is a legal formation, so long as you have 5 players numbered 50-79 on the line (assuming none of the numbering exceptions apply).

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20 hours ago, Bobref said:

I love gimmicks and gadgetry on the field, in large part because such plays often present a real challenge to the officiating crew. So, let’s collect and discuss trick plays here.

One of my favorites illustrates a difference between NCAA and high school rules. In this play, the holder’s knee never comes off the ground. Under the NF code, that would make the ball dead as soon as he passes it.

 

It’s been many years ago, in the tournament we had a pretty good team against a first year program. The score was a lot to none. I believe it was Florida State who ran this play the Saturday before and it made all the highlight reels, ESPN plays of the day etc. So first year program scores a TD late and they run this play on the PAT to perfection! It had to be the only thing they worked on all week. As soon as the holder pitched the ball to the ball carrier, I blew the whistle. New program coach looses his s****. I explained to him why it was dead and went on to tell him, “do you remember before the game when I asked you if you had any unusual plays we should be aware of? That would have been a good time to tell me about this.”  

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12 hours ago, Irishman said:

Looks like only 10 players on the field and only 6 on the LOS....assuming the number 3 receiver on the near side is on. If there is a 3rd guy on the line up top, it looks ok. But with only 6 on the line, it's an illegal formation. 
I am wondering, since you included the end zone view, were you thinking there is another issue? 

This was change a few years back, for this specific reason. The thought process was A is already playing short and now you’re going to penalize them for it as well. Must have five 50-79 and no more than four in the backfield. 

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15 hours ago, Bobref said:

Legal play.

 

11 minutes ago, cloudofdust said:

In the video I do not see 5 players with number 50-79 on the line.

Also a procedure call. The snap occurs before everyone is set.

This seems to be a remix of the A11...

It’s 4th down, so numbering exceptions are in effect.

I think you mean an illegal shift. They look set to me.

Agree that this looks like the A11 … except that it’s 4th down. The A11 was intended to be an every down offense, which resulted in a rule change.

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It's crazy they only had 10 on the field.  And they were NOT all set.  Would have been nice to see them break the huddle, to get a better view of it.  If you notice the inside receiver on the top of the screen was just getting set when the snap occurred, which is a penalty.  The coach would have blown a gasket losing out on a nice trick play with 10 on the field.  

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41 minutes ago, Kooldude said:

It's crazy they only had 10 on the field.  And they were NOT all set.  Would have been nice to see them break the huddle, to get a better view of it.  If you notice the inside receiver on the top of the screen was just getting set when the snap occurred, which is a penalty.  The coach would have blown a gasket losing out on a nice trick play with 10 on the field.  

Agree to disagree. And I have seen plenty of coaches endure highly frustrating situations without “blowing a gasket.” Some would call it “class.”

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On 9/27/2022 at 3:53 PM, Bobref said:

Agree to disagree. And I have seen plenty of coaches endure highly frustrating situations without “blowing a gasket.” Some would call it “class.”

I'm not saying it's OK to blow a gasket, I was a football official for many years.  Some have class, some don't.  But when you especially run a trick play and get a penalty for someone not being set, then that coach has lost the opportunity to run that play again for awhile.  And usually, it's the other coaches who keep chirping who don't know the rules anyways.  LOL

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On 9/25/2022 at 7:19 PM, Bobref said:

6 on the line is a legal formation, so long as you have 5 players numbered 50-79 on the line (assuming none of the numbering exceptions apply).

So - what a minute here - you're telling me that we can have 5 in the backfield and have a legal formation?!? 

Or..the 6 man on the line is only when considering 10 players in the game? 

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47 minutes ago, jets said:

So - what a minute here - you're telling me that we can have 5 in the backfield and have a legal formation?!? 

Or..the 6 man on the line is only when considering 10 players in the game? 

The rule is you must have 5 on the line and no more than 4 in the backfield.

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2 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

When you throw the ball, one of three things is going to happen, and two of them are bad. 

That was a colleague's take on punting as well in youth football games.  He actually discounted the one good thing and considered the punter's knee touching the ground to retrieve the snap as being the best possible outcome in youth ball punting.

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