Question about how far past the line of scrimmage linemen can be on pass plays

Submitted by Phoenix on September 14th, 2010 at 5:48 PM

I love the play Michigan is running where Denard fakes a run to the left, which draws in the DBs, and instead throws the ball downfield while still on the run. Roundtree scored on this vs. Notre Dame - it keeps the defense guessing even more.

Question to the more informed: how far can offensive lineman advance past the line of scrimmage during pass plays? I thought they weren't allowed to at all; am I way off? Because on these plays where Denard fakes the sweep, the linemen have been advancing at least a couple of yards downfield. How far can they go downfield and block before the ball is thrown?

Thanks in advance guys.



September 14th, 2010 at 5:58 PM ^

Since the linemen can't be sure whether it's a pass or a run from scrimmage, it has to be more than a little difficult determining how far they can wander downfield on any particular play. 

Although, if Denard runs it, he'll be past them before they can cause any penalty flags to fly anyway. Plus, the ball typically leaves his hand within the first two seconds or so.

MI Expat NY

September 14th, 2010 at 5:58 PM ^

From the Rulebook:

ARTICLE 10. No originally ineligible receiver shall be or have been more than three yards beyond the neutral zone until a legal forward pass that crosses the neutral zone has been thrown (A.R. 7-3-10-I and II).

I thought we got away with this on the play where Denard was going to run left, realized nothing was there, came back right and then passed.


September 14th, 2010 at 5:58 PM ^

there's no limit of how far past the LOS that an OL can be on passing plays.

I know that in the NFL, you can't go any farther than 5 yards(not sure if it's right but I do know that there's a limit) otherwise there's an ineligible man downfield penalty.


September 14th, 2010 at 6:00 PM ^

I know the exact play you are talking about because i thought the same thing while watching the game live.  I looked at the highlights though and he was at the end of the line.


September 14th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

Additionally, the linemen can go as far downfield as they want if the pass does not cross the line of scrimmage. Thus, on the read option, we can also throw the bubble screen or similar, if desired, without sacrificing the run blocking.


September 14th, 2010 at 10:41 PM ^

Yep.  This is one of the major differences between college and nfl rules.  In the NFL the linemen can't go downfield until after the screen has been thrown whereas in college they can release downfield right away.


September 14th, 2010 at 8:54 PM ^

I have been watching for this in our two games and am impressed with the OL discipline.  With a QB moving around for additional seconds they have to be especially careful not to wander beyond the three yards.  Don't believe they have yet.