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Corn Flakes: No More Man Downfield?

David McGee

Change in illegal man downfield rule could boost defenses | College Football

Starting next season, offenses that try to confuse defenses by throwing behind run blocking lines could have less room to work their games of deception. The NCAA rules committee has proposed changing the illegal man downfield penalty — Rule 7, Article 10 in the NCAA book — shortening the distance linemen can move downfield before the ball is thrown to 1 yard, which matches the NFL rule.

As it stands right now, the rule is that an offensive lineman is legal if he's downfield up to three yards downfield on a pass play.

The proposal, and right it is just that at this point, will change the rule to make it illegal for an offensive lineman to be downfield on a pass play more than a yard.

When I first saw this, I hated the idea. The difference between one and three yards doesn't sound like much, but it is. Three yards can be enough to fooling a defense into believing the offense is executing a run play. One yard, not so much.

The pop pass is the play you'll see mentioned as being most effected by the rule change. My first thought was the traditional screen pass, honestly. The NFL still executes that play (Green Bay Packers tradition), but the NFL has all day, every day to practice it.

If the rule passes, the defense wins one. I suppose it's about time. They've been getting slaughtered lately. And, let's be real - offenses will figure out how to make different schemes and plays work anyway.

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