Author Topic: Free blocking zone  (Read 1402 times)

Offline tyro01

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Free blocking zone
« on: October 25, 2017, 12:39:21 PM »
Would like opinion of fellow officials regarding blocking below the waist in the free blocking zone.   

When you have quarterback set up in the shot gun/not receiving hand to hand snap, the amount of time that the ball is in the free blocking zone is minimal.  A prerequisite for blocking blow the waist by offensive lineman against defensive lineman is the ball has to be in the free blocking zone at the time of the block. 

With offensive lineman who are not in a 3 point/4 point stance, their opportunity to block below the waist against defensive presents a problem.   These offensive lineman's blocks below the waist against defensive lineman in these situations would be considered illegal, as their blocks would not be immediate/taking place once the ball is out of the free blocking zone.  3point/4 point stance offensive lineman have a better chance, provided that their blocks are their immediate movement. 

In a case where I have a offensive lineman in a 2 point stance with a quarterback in shotgun/not receiving hand to hand snap, I am prone to call a low block by the offensive lineman in this situation illegal.

Your thoughts.

Offline Rulesman

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 01:06:55 PM »
As a POE for 2015, that year's rule book covers each of your questions/situations in detail. Frankly, it does a good job doing it, too.

I've learned over the years to keep the last 3-4 years for that very reason. I really wish the Fed would include the previous 3-4 years of POEs in each edition. It would really help simplify things and refresh memories.
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Offline VA Official

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 01:29:29 PM »
Here is the related excerpt from the 2015 POE as Rulesman noted:

"When the ball is snapped to a back in shotgun formation, however, the ball leaves the zone, and the zone disintegrates almost immediately. To be legal, a block below the waist must occur immediately after, and nearly simultaneously with, the snap. Any delay would cause the block to occur after the ball has left the zone. It is nearly impossible for a lineman in a two-point stance to legally block below the waist in this situation because of the time required for the lineman to drop from an upright position and block an opponent below the waist. For linemen in three- or four-point stances, they must block their opponents immediately after the snap in order for a low block to be legal in this situation."

Offline scrounge

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 02:12:50 PM »
This varies from state to state. Some have put out a blanket prohibition on linemen in 2 pt stances from blocking below the waist in shotgun, others have not made that distinction but only said that the block must be immediate at the snap.

Offline Curious

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 03:15:50 PM »
This varies from state to state. Some have put out a blanket prohibition on linemen in 2 pt stances from blocking below the waist in shotgun, others have not made that distinction but only said that the block must be immediate at the snap.

Based on this 2015 POE, I expect this interpretation to be adopted nationally soon (next season Ralph?)

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 04:47:10 PM »
As I would presume, this exact issue has been discussed and debated at many Officials meetings and conferences at great length with a lot of opinions.  Our chapter is no exception, and finally reached agreement that a block below the waist, in the FBZ, during a "shotgun" can only be legal if immediate and directed at an opponent directly opposite, or closely adjacent (no split) to the opponent opposite the blocker.  No steps, no pulling, no hesitation. 

Offline bossman72

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 09:51:33 AM »
If the lineman's first move out of his stance is his to cut, then I always rule that legal whether it's a 2 point or 3 point stance.  Basically a 1-step cut.

If he pops up first, then goes low, then that is probably a BBW foul.

Offline chriscwilson

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Re: Free blocking zone
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 10:59:00 AM »
If the lineman's first move out of his stance is his to cut, then I always rule that legal whether it's a 2 point or 3 point stance.  Basically a 1-step cut.

If he pops up first, then goes low, then that is probably a BBW foul.

That is exactly how i have called it this year.  Immediately at snap, ok.  Pop up then cut, BBW.  Have also had to explain to linemen that they can't cut LB's who run up after the snap.