Welcome back to the regular FFL Monday thoughts. Let’s start with the news.
The word is that last year’s FFL and BFL runner-up, the Brussels Black Angels, will have a new head coach for the upcoming season. Former head coach Georgy will take over the special teams coaching duties and former defensive coördinator Romauld Derys will step up to the head coaching role. You may have read Coach Romauld’s name around here before – he was the All-FFL Defensive coördinator from last season.
The schedule for the Diamond Bowl is available. It’s a three team tournament on Sunday, September 18, and will be the first competitive football this season, so get out to Berendrecht and have a look (or have a play if your team is involved). The timing is as follows :
12:00 – Antwerp Diamonds v Leuven Lions
14:00 – Lelystad Commanders v Leuven Lions
16:00 – Antwerp Diamonds v Lelystad Commanders
This reporter is rather honoured as I’ve been asked to choose the MVPs of the tournament as well, so I’ll have to keep my eyes open all afternoon!
I spent yesterday joining in with the referee’s meeting in Brussels, dicsussing about the new rules and interpretations (of which there are many) and looking at videos coming from NCAA officials with things to look for while officiating in the next season. I like to think of myself as someone who knows the rules of the game, but a lot of the definitions and descriptions in the rule book are way over my head!
Anyway, here’s a look at the major changes to the rules.
– On kicks, the defensive team are no longer allowed to engage any one offensive player with three players. This was a relatively common move to block field goals so teams will have to try something else.
– Gloves may be any color.
– The offensive team has to be completely set before any player may go in motion.
-You may not block a player who is out of bounds (this actually wasn’t a rule before, although quite why anyone would want to do this is beyond me).
– The rules for intentional grounding are relaxed for the quarterback while he’s still in the pocket. Now a receiver doesn’t have to have a reasonable chance to catch the ball, it’s enough that there was just a receiver somewhere in the area.
– This is perhaps a little hard to explain, but a wide receiver (or tight end/running back split wide/player in motion as the ball is snapped) may block below the waist only either straight ahead, or towards the sideline on the side that he’s on when the ball is snapped. He may not block below the waist towards the opposite sideline.
– The biggest change is for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, especially when scoring a touchdown. Someone who is going to score a touchdown, who celebrates before crossing the goalline will be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. This was true before, except that now, it’s a live ball foul, not a dead ball foul.
In short, if you celebrate too early (including diving into the endzone when it’s not required), then the touchdown WILL NOT count and it will be a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the foul. FFL – you have been warned.
Oh, and by the way, spiking of the ball after scoring isn’t allowed either. Just give the ball to the ref, ok?
– This isn’t a rule change, but do be aware that the ref doesn’t have to blow the whistle for a play to be over. If a player runs with the ball and he goes out of bounds and you hit him, it’s going to be a late hit penalty. You have to see that the guy was out of bounds and not hit him. “I didn’t hear a whistle” is actually not an excuse. There may not have been a whistle and there does not have to be.
There will be a meeting between the officials and the coaches in a couple of weeks, so you’ll be able to direct your questions to your coach so he can get them clarified by the officials.
I believe that that’s just about all there is to say for this week. I hope that you’re all enjoying the football now that it’s back on TV, I sure am! Until next time