College Football Rules: False Start

In tonight’s edition of our college football rules review, we’ll look at Rule 7, Snapping and Passing The Ball on Page 74.

My buddy DK and I watched the Nebraska game on Saturday.  Before a particular Iowa Hawkeye snap, an offensive lineman rose up from his stance and turned toward the sideline, apparently to ask instruction about how to manhandle a Nebraska defensive lineman (although it certainly wasn’t Vincent Valentine, who nearly sacked the Iowa quarterback with an offensive lineman):

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:10052612

DK asked, “Isn’t that a false start?”  I agreed with his question but thought that if an offensive lineman wasn’t “set” (and by that I meant that the lineman had his hand on the ground in a three-point stance), he could still move.

So let’s look at the rules.

Rule 7, Section 1, Article 2 states (in part and with my emphasis added):

After a huddle (Rule 2-14) or shift (Rule 2-22-1) and before the snap, all Team A players must come to an absolute stop and remain stationary in their positions for at least one full second before the ball is snapped, without movement of the feet, body, head or arms (A.R. 7-1-2-I).  Each of the following is a false start by Team A if it occurs prior to the snap after the ball is ready for play and all players are in scrimmage formation:
1.
Any movement by one or more players that simulates the start of a play.
2.
The snapper moving to another position.
3.
A restricted lineman (Rule 2-27-4) moving his hand(s) or making any quick movement. [Exception:  It is not a false start if a Team A lineman immediately reacts when threatened by a Team B player in the neutral zone (Rule 7-1-5-a-2) (A.R. 7-1-3-V)].
4.
An offensive player making any quick, jerky movement before the snap, including but not limited to:
(a)
A lineman moving his foot, shoulder, arm, body or head in a quick, jerky motion in any direction.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I’ll cut off the rule-quoting here.  While I cannot state with certainty whether the lineman moving before the snap was a false start, my assumption is that he did not achieve a “scrimmage formation”, which the rule requires before a false start could occur.  That is the only reason I can find that might allow an offensive lineman to stand up and turn for instructions.

Perhaps you can find something else.  Let me know.  Who knows?  Maybe you can be a guest blogger . . .

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