Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

When Youth Football Defenses Try to Draw Your Offense Offside:

A coach recently e-mailed me in response to my article on the illegal shift used by teams to purposely draw the defense offside. He told me of a somewhat similar experience he had in a game in 2008 where the defense was purposely trying to get the offense to jump offside by yelling out the offenses snap count. We had a team try this last year in a game, their kids were very loud, trying to interrupt our no-huddle communication. They also were yelling out hut-hut as we were calling out our snap cadence.

The referees in my game just halted play and gave a warning to the other team. In the game that the coach
e-mailed me on, the other team was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty and assessed a 15 yard penalty.

Unfortunately, a small minority of coaches are not familiar with this rule and make themselves to look a bit foolish when their team is called for the 15 yards. Not only is it a Bush League tactic, it is illegal according to NFHS.

The Ruling

Rule 9-5-1: “No player shall act in an unsportsmanlike manner once the officials assume authority for the contest. Examples are, but not limited to: …
d. Using disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with A’s signals or movements.”
PENALTY: Unsportsmanlike conduct (Arts. 1,2) – (S27) – (S7-S27) – if dead ball, 15 yards.”

If you see a team trying to do this to your offense, it probably is prudent and apporiate to mention this to the closest referee. While they are supposed to call a penalty, at a minimum you will get this unsportsmanlike activity stopped.

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1 Comment

  1. Philip

    It’s amazing what “Bush League” tactics other coaches will resort to. In a 2008 playoff game, the other coach had a player lineup head up on our center and try to swipe the ball to force a turnover or bad snap. They got away with it once, and forced a bad snap, but we quickly alerted the officials to what they were doing. It was sad to me that a coach of a bunch of 3rd graders would teach his kids to use such tactics.


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