Thursday, January 7, 2010

Basics of Football for Women - Part 4

This blog today will focus on the main penalties you will see in a college football game. The people on the field wearing black & white striped shirts are the officials and they are the ones that can call the penalties. They can call penalties against the offense or defense. Below are the common penalties:

Delay of game - the play clock will start and the offense has 25 seconds to get the play started by snapping the ball. If they fail to do so, there is a 5 yard penalty.

Offsides - a defensive play crossed the line of scrimmage (where the ball is sitting) and made contact with an offensive player or did not get back behind the line of scrimmage. This is also a 5 yard penalty.

Illegal procedure - an offensive lineman moved before play started or a receiver who was in motion did not move parallel with the line of scrimmage. This is a 5 yard penalty.

Holding - an offensive lineman used his hands while blocking. This is a 10 yard penalty.

Facemask - this is where a player tries to tackle someone by yanking on the facemask of the helmet. This is a 5 yard penalty if accidental and 15 yards if it is flagrant.

Unsportsman-Like Conduct - this says it all and is a 15 yard penalty

Clipping, Chop Block & Illegal Block - this is a block that occurs from the back. This is a 10 yard penalty

Unnecessary Roughness, Roughing the Passer & Roughing the Kicker - tackling someone after they no longer have the ball. This is a 15 yard penalty.

These are some of the penalties. If a penalty is called on a team, the other team can accept or decline the penalty. Usually the penalty is stepped off from the original line of scrimmage. There are exceptions and that is a topic for another day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Basics of Football for Women - Part 3

The last blog posted, I indicated that I would explain how a coach decides when to punt the ball on 4th down or run a play. The coach will look at several factors. The first how many yards does the offense need to get the first down. If they have 10 yards to go, most likely they will punt unless it is close to the end of the game and they are behind. If time is about to run out and they are behind in points, they will run a play as there is not much to lose. If the offense has 1 yard or less, they might go for it depending on where they are on the field. The issue with this decision is that if the offense does not make it on 4th down when a play is run, the offense turns it over to the other team where the offense finished the play.
A coach might also choose to fake a punt. The offense lines up like they are going to punt the ball and then run a play. The consequences are the same not making the yardage. It is the same as running a play on 4th down.
Tomorrow's post will be about penalties. This will get you to the point of being able to watch the BCS Championship game with a bit more knowledge. Maybe it will make it more fun to watch.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Basics of Football for Women - Part 2

I'll explain some more terminology today. At each end of the field of play are the end zones. This is where the teams can score touchdown points. The offense comes down the field with running and passing plays and their goal is to get in the end zone and score a touchdown. A touchdown is when the ball crosses the plane of the end zone while in possession of the offensive player. The player does not have to cross the plane of the end zone. The team is awarded 6 points for this type of score. If a team does not get in the end zone and they are close enough, the offense may elect to kick a field goal. In a field goal, the kicker attempts to kick the ball through the goal posts which are sitting at the back of the end zone. If he is successful, the offensive team gets 3 points.

If a team gets a touchdown, they get the opportunity for extra points. They can attempt to kick the ball through the goal posts and if successful, the team gets 1 point. They can also go for a 2 point attempt by executing a play. If they get into the end zone during this, they are given 2 points.

Once a team scores points, they will then kick to the other team and the other team gets an attempt to go down the field and score. As I stated in Part 1, there are 4 - 15 minute quarters plus halftime. Teams are given 3 timeouts per half. The clock stops in college for the following situations: timeout, incomplete pass, penalties, play reviews and injuries. The clock will also be stopped if a team gets a first down (gets the 10 yards or more within 4 attempts) to move the markers but then restarts upon the markers being placed.

Part 3 will discuss how a team decides to punt the ball on 4th down or run a play. I will also explain common penalties.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Basics of Football for Women

With all of the bowl games that happened in the last month and a few more to go, I thought I would put some basics out there for women (or men) that really do not understand football. The big game is Thursday night and there will be many parties out there to go to to watch the BCS championship.

First thing to know is that there is an offense and a defense team on the field. The defense and the offense each have 11 men. The offense is the team with the ball. Of course, their objective is to score points. The field of play is 100 yards long and 50 yards wide. The offense has 4 tries to get 10 yards. The offense will do this using a passing (throwing) play or a running play. When the player with the ball is tackled on the ground, the referree will whistle the play dead. If they do not get the 10 yards in the first 3 attempts, they have the option to either punt (kick) the ball to the other team or they can try to get the remaining yards with a running or throwing play. In my next posting, I will explain a bit on how the decision is made to punt or run a play.

The defense is the team that is trying to stop the offense from scoring. They will try to stop plays from succeeding and also try to cause a turnover. A turnover is either a fumble or an interception. A fumble is where an offensive player is running with the ball and he loses the ball out of his hands. The defense will try to get the fumble so their offense can take over. An interception is where a defensive guy catches the pass from the opposing team.

One more basic fact is that the game consists of four 15 minute quarters plus a halftime (time when the bands perform and the players go to the locker room). This means that there is 60 minutes of football but with TV timeouts, penalties, clock stops and instant replays, a game can be around 4 hours. Stay tuned tomorrow for more basics about football.