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Rules question - time running out and no timeouts

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A team is out of timeouts and makes a gain that doesn’t result in a first down with a few seconds left in the game (e.g. 5-10 seconds) and the clock is running.  The offensive team is running up to the ball, the referees are scrambling to place the ball in its new spot, but the defense still has a couple players that are 5-10 yards behind the line of scrimmage coming up to the ball (for whatever reason, they were knocked down or bigger and slower).  Does the ref have to allow them time to get on side and set before allowing the ball live?  Or are they off side as soon as the offensive team is ready and starts the play?

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I am not an official, but here is my thought. 

Once the official places the ball, the offense can snap the ball. If the defense does not get across the line of scrimmage by the time the offense is set, they are offside.

One exception here could be if the offense subbed in a player (highly unlikely in a hurry up situation). If the offense made a substitution, I believe the official would stand over the ball until the defense is set in case they also wanted to substitute a player. I doubt that happened in your scenario. 

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1 hour ago, Voice of Reason said:

I am not an official, but here is my thought. 

Once the official places the ball, the offense can snap the ball. If the defense does not get across the line of scrimmage by the time the offense is set, they are offside.

One exception here could be if the offense subbed in a player (highly unlikely in a hurry up situation). If the offense made a substitution, I believe the official would stand over the ball until the defense is set in case they also wanted to substitute a player. I doubt that happened in your scenario. 

I agree with this.

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HS football does not have the same substitution rule as college. If the offense subs the official does not and should not hold up the ready for play so the defense can do the same. 
 

Once the ball has been set for ready to play it can be snapped. If the defenders are not on their side it’s offsides. I do believe that most officials might still stand over the ball though they shouldn’t. 

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23 hours ago, barrel said:

HS football does not have the same substitution rule as college. If the offense subs the official does not and should not hold up the ready for play so the defense can do the same. 
 

Once the ball has been set for ready to play it can be snapped. If the defenders are not on their side it’s offsides. I do believe that most officials might still stand over the ball though they shouldn’t. 

As an official at both levels...I can tell you that this is the closest answer to the proper interpretation.  The umpire should not be standing over the ball and holding up the offense in high school football unless the clock was stopped previously (maybe a timeout or penalty administration) and the Referee is just waiting for his crew to get into position...in those scenarios, though, the game clock would not be running. 

If the previous play ended in bounds and the game clock is still running...the offense can then snap the ball as soon as the umpire is out of the way from spotting it. 

In the original scenario listed above...the officiating crew would spot the ball as quickly as they could and get out of the way as quickly as they could.  The offense could snap the ball once the umpire is out of the way.  If the defense is still on the wrong side of the ball, it would be a foul for "Encroachment" ...also commonly known as Offside by the Defense, and the officiating crew would shut the game clock down to administer the penalty yardage.  In this exact scenario, the offensive head coach (offended team) would have the option to start the game clock when the center snaps the ball or when the Referee blows the ready for play whistle.  If the offense is out of timeouts and needing to score before the end of the half or end of the game...they would choose to start the game clock on the snap.  

Foul - Encroachment, 5-yard penalty, game clock will start on the snap.

 

Hope this helps!  

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@MarineOne - good stuff thanks. Another question then is why would a ref run for his life to spot the ball when 10 seconds is left, but isn't willing to do this in other parts of the game?  If a team is playing hurry up in the 1st quarter - I doubt the ref crew is going to run like 10 seconds left in the game while it's still in first half.  Thanks in advance - good stuff.

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5 minutes ago, Brown said:

@MarineOne - good stuff thanks.  Another related question then is why would a ref run for his life to spot the ball when 10 seconds is left, but isn't willing to do this in other parts of the game?  If and team is playing hurry up in the 1st quarter - I doubt the ref crew is going to run like 10 seconds left in the game while it's still in first half.  Thanks in advance - good stuff.

Officials are trained at every level to pick it up within the last two minutes.  That being said...officials actually supposed to control the game flow a bit with the ball spotting.  The officials have to allow the defense to substitute and match up a bit in high school football because that process is not as closely managed as it is in NCAA football.  Normally, the umpire needs to be spotting the ball approximately 7-9 seconds after the previous play was over.  If you watch that...you will see that is actually pretty consistent.  This allows coaches to get their plays in, players to substitute, and officials to get in proper position to be ready for the next snap.  That being said, most officials in Northern Kentucky have been wearing radios for the last few years and will communicate to their crew if the offensive coach on their sideline is going to run a no-huddle offense.  They will speed it up in that instance to accommodate, but not for the entire game.

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6 hours ago, MarineOne said:

As an official at both levels...I can tell you that this is the closest answer to the proper interpretation.  The umpire should not be standing over the ball and holding up the offense in high school football unless the clock was stopped previously (maybe a timeout or penalty administration) and the Referee is just waiting for his crew to get into position...in those scenarios, though, the game clock would not be running. 

If the previous play ended in bounds and the game clock is still running...the offense can then snap the ball as soon as the umpire is out of the way from spotting it. 

In the original scenario listed above...the officiating crew would spot the ball as quickly as they could and get out of the way as quickly as they could.  The offense could snap the ball once the umpire is out of the way.  If the defense is still on the wrong side of the ball, it would be a foul for "Encroachment" ...also commonly known as Offside by the Defense, and the officiating crew would shut the game clock down to administer the penalty yardage.  In this exact scenario, the offensive head coach (offended team) would have the option to start the game clock when the center snaps the ball or when the Referee blows the ready for play whistle.  If the offense is out of timeouts and needing to score before the end of the half or end of the game...they would choose to start the game clock on the snap.  

Foul - Encroachment, 5-yard penalty, game clock will start on the snap.

 

Hope this helps!  

This is the rule but in all my years of watching football I have never seen that call at any level. Now that might be for a couple reasons. 1. The defensive teams coaches have instructed their players to get across the line to avoid the penalty. 2. The refs deliberately wait for the defense to get back across. IMO it’s probably a little of both.

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There are a few other things that can happen that you don’t see or see very often. Now these are slightly different than the scenario given. 
 

The box is the only thing that needs to be set to be able to snap the ball. You don’t have to have the whole chain crew in place. 
 

The officials can drop a bag to spot the LOS if the box is taking too long. 
 

Both cases are rare and I’ve only witnessed the first one and not the second. In an end game hurry up situation though either could occur. 
 

Are far as the defense substituting in general most crews give the defense some slack. There are a number of times you’ll see a defender between the numbers and the sideline getting off while the ball is snapped. Of course the officials often give the offense some slack with the rule that players must be inside the numbers before the ball is ready for play too. 

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