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Michael Rice

Suggestions For Rule Changes

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This weekend will mark the end of our tourneys. We are slated to have our season ending coaches meeting next week. I'm interested in hearing what you guys might think, as far as some of the rule varaitions that are out there.

Right now, we play pretty much dead on NFL Flag rules, with the exception we go 6 on 6, as opposed to 5 on 5.

The main rules are:

7 second pass clock

INTs are not returnable

Rush from 7 yards back

Unlimited rushers

You can rush as much as you like and at anytime.

No pitches or laterals

Shovel passes are allowed, but everythign must cross the line

Pass clock is not in play after the ball is handed off

QB can't run, but can go out for a pass

Earlier in the year, it was proposed we eliminate the pass clock and allow INTs to be returned. It was tabled since the year had already started.

I think allowing returns would be a good idea. I was indifferent on the pass clock since it is only called a few times per year.

After seeing us get burned by the pass clock in the tourney I am leaning towards getting rid of it.

We teach our QBs that if you are down near the goaline on third down or XPs and you get to that 5 or so second mark you need to get rid of it. The sack is not going to save you anything and an INT is not returnable. The problem is....the kids force passes sometimes, that we know they wouldn't normally make.

That happened on two plays in 3rd and goal in our elimination game. I'd love to see the kids be able to continue to read the field instead of having to throw a pass they know is either a pick or incomplete.

SOme people look at it as they do a "coverage sack" in the NFL, I think it is a little different...in the NFL you still have to get to the QB and he can scramble. And I think, a lot of times, it's not really the coverage so much as it is the kids bunching up and not continuing to move on offense.

Maybe, I am swayed by the two we got burned on, IDK.

I just seems like with unlimited rushing, it is so hard to do anything that requires much of a route. We designed our playbook so that every pass play has a safety option, handoff and is almost always a roll out, which helps. I just wish we could use a straight drop back more often.

I;ve noticed a few people comment on players rushign from different distances, such as ten yards. Those of you that have that, have you seen a major difference in teams rushing?

I'd also like to hear any comments as far as different variations of the other rules....i.e. having to declare rushers, limited rushing, such as a certain amount per series, having to wait for a certain amount of time before you can rush, etc....

I am real curious to hear from the coaches who play in leagues where the QB can run and/or pitches are allowed.

Thsi is my second year coaching and was my first running the offense. We had a decent year...going 4-6 with no loss by more than 9 points. We had only 5 players the whole year, due to some weird circumstances, so we weren't even playing 6 on 6 in our games.

It was nice not having to worry about subs, but it really hurt us when we would have matchup issues, since we had no way of rotating to switch things up. It was hard to practice, as well.

Sorry for the rambling. It looks like we will be doing one more year of flag, next year, before moving to tackle. My son is a 4th grader, so, that will give him a year of tackle before he goes to Jr. High and I haven't had any exposure to the other rules, so I'd like to help make the league better, if possible, while we are involved.

The guys in charge of our league really try to balance getting the kids ready for tackle, while keeping in mind that a decent amount of the kids won't go that route.

Thanks for your input.

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

I'd also like to hear any comments as far as different variations of the other rules....i.e. having to declare rushers, limited rushing, such as a certain amount per series, having to wait for a certain amount of time before you can rush, etc....

I am real curious to hear from the coaches who play in leagues where the QB can run and/or pitches are allowed.

In our league, as team can rush up to two declared rushers every four downs (or a full on rush after 7 seconds). I personally like this. Our comish really tries to encourage passing so our rules are slanted a little toward the passing game. We rarely blitz. In fact we run more "fake blitzes" (i.e. where we declare we are going to blitz but don't--those actually work well).

QBs cannot run in our league unless they are rushed. 99% of the plays when a team rushes, the QB takes off---and 80% of the time it's for a good gain. I have a few home run plays I designed specifically for when we are going to get blitzed, so it's really an advantage when the team declares they are going to blitz.

If we were to change, I'd suggest where a team can blitz two once ever four downs...but they don't have to declare it. Of course being so offensive-minded, my preference is for them to announce it so we can hopefully make them pay. ;-)

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We played in a league once where there was no rush and no "pass clock." I thought it was the most ridiculous thing in the world and did not resemble football very much. Basically teams would sit back and kids would run to and fro breaking off patterns after a few seconds and then it looked like a huge game of tag. Personally I'm a fan of the I-9 rules. 5 on 5, rush from 7 yards back, no QB runs. Granted, that rush makes things extremely difficult on the QBs, and alters the playcalling. But to me, it's much better football than no rush or pass clock. I could see a league using a pass clock at the younger ages, like 8 and under.

I can tell you that making the transition from a league where there was only a pass clock (no rush) to the I-9 rules was a real eye opener. There is no luxury of time to sit back and make plays. And although our plays are altered and we can't run elaborate, long routes all the time, we still have nice set plays and routes and occasional long passes. It's kind of like moving from a YMBA basketball league where the kids cannot play defense full court, only on their side and then switching to a different league where they can full court press. It speeds the game up, makes it more intense, and in my opinion more realistic.

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I think it would be more fun if you allowed the children to return the interceptions. It's exciting for the kids and can really change the momentum of a tight game.

I think the 7 yard blitz line is pretty standard, although I feel 10 yards would help open up some longer pass plays. I think a pitch would be nice, if you we're only allowed to pitch from behind center to a back or receiver looping around. I wouldn't want crazy pitching behind the line or children running down the line making option pitches.

I have not coached tackle, but I've heard flag does not prepare you for tackle. The games are very different and I wouldn't make ajustments based on possible transitions to tackle. Many takcle teams don't throw very much. And the opportunities to run are limited to a small amount of children.

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Thanks for the input. The end fo the season meeting was earlier this evening. We formed some committees and sub committees to look at a lot of this type of stuff, thorughout the off season

I think we are pretty set on allowing interceptions to be returned, at least at the 9/10 and 11/12 levels.

I think 5/6 may stay the same, with the interception being down at the spot. I'm not sure with the 7/8 year olds.

I think the elimination of the pass clock is probably going to be done, as well. I can't imagine having no clock and no rush. That just sounds insane.

As long as the rush is allowed, I don't think the clock will be a big issue. It will only come into play when the defense does not rush and so many teams go to man defense, it seems, at the older levels, that you can always delay rush if desired.

I agree with the pitches. I wouldn't mind letting them pitch behind the line, just nothing across the line of scrimmage.

We allow shovel passes, now. I think those are pretty similar in principle. We even have a play where the QB rolls and a back runs out in front of him, crosses the line and is passed/pitched to. I can see pros and cons to the pitches, I think it just comes down to personal preference.

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Just for clarification, a shovel pass is as much a pass as an overhand pass as long as it moves forward. There really are only two types of passes that are addressed in most football rules, forward passes and backwards (or sidewards) passes. Shovel, overhand, underhand, behind the back, none of that matters. What matters is does the ball when thrown move in a direction towards the opponents goal. If it does, it's a forward pass. If it does not, it's a backwards pass.

Some leagues require a forward pass cross the los. Most leagues require a forward pass only in the no-run zone and typically it has to cross the los. Most leagues allow backwards passes (pitches, etc), although some restrict them to only behind the los.

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We are one of thsoe leagues that doesn't allow anything behind the line, except direct handoffs. I would love to see them allow pitches, behind the line. I think it would open up the playbook, substantially.

I was told by one of my parents, who coached before I came on board, that it wasn't that long ago they started allowing forward handoffs. Before that, everything had to be handed backwards.

For example, on any end arounds the player taking the ball would have to go behind the one handing it off. If you wanted to do a center handoff, the center would have to circle the QB.

I'm not sure, but I think this might have been one of the changes our current director made, as he has only been in that spot for a handful of seasons.

I'd like to see pitches allowed, if for nothing else, to help stem the blitz a bit. Teams in our league are blitz addicted. In all, the teams probably blitz 80 percent of the time. That's why we went to using the shovel so much. If you can time it, especially against a zone blitz, coming form a 3-2....you give your guy the whole field to work with and only one guy to blitx (5-5) which we played due to our roster size.

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