question regarding using a timeout when on offense

Submitted by crom80 on November 20th, 2017 at 1:32 PM

a question regarding using a timeout during the game from someone who never played organised football.

so I understand when on defense one would use a timeout even very early in a game since a single bust would result in a score.

but my question is in a specific situation very early in the game.

say the situation is 2 min into the first quarter, score is 0-0 and it's our ball 3rd and 12 on our own 40. the clock is ticking towards 0 and the sideline calls for timeout to prevent delay of game.

my inexperienced opinion would be why waste a TO in that case. i can understand if it was 3rd and short or in the redzone. or even if a blitzing defender is unaccounted by the line who would cut the QB in half. i can't say when exactly but i would observe such instances watching football. 

curious how calling a TO at that instance outweighs the benefit of having that TO in the pocket to use for a 'maybe' situation at the end of the half.



November 20th, 2017 at 1:42 PM ^

think it all comes down to the specific circumstance.  I will give you one example, just off the top of my head, not related to anything recent.

If you are down 7-0 to the number 1 defense in the nation on 3rd and long in your own territory and you find yourself in the wildcat with a player about to take his second direct snap of the season and a tight end who does not know what way to motion with one on the playclock and a center about to pull the trigger - you use a timeout.

Mr Miggle

November 20th, 2017 at 2:25 PM ^

what what you're worried about when you call the timeout. A blown play would be a worse outcome. Thats a difference between a QB calling the timeout and the coach. The QB could just opt for the delay, while the coach could only hope that's what happens. 


November 20th, 2017 at 2:44 PM ^

Taking a delay of game penalty when in the opponents territory is good, as it backs you up a few yards to allow for the punt to be downed (hopefully) inside the 10 rather than bounce in for a touchback.

Taking the delay of game penalty when in your own territory may put your team in a situation where the other team opts for a block instead of a return.  

To echo the other points, if your team looks like they don't know what they are doing and the clock is near 0, take the time out to avoid a bad play.


November 20th, 2017 at 1:41 PM ^

Because first half timeouts don't really warrant being "saved", especially in college football where a first down stops the clock.

Would rather keep hope alive for the conversion than save it for a hypothetical that may never come, especially in the first half.

Goggles Paisano

November 20th, 2017 at 1:42 PM ^

I think you sort of answered your own question.  In your example, if Harbaugh thinks he has the play dialed up to convert the 3rd and 12 he will use the TO.  Also, field position in that Wisc game was at a premium.  5 yards may be the difference between Wisc getting into FG range or not. 

The decision to take the penalty may be greater in the 2nd half than the 1st, as there is often no need to burn your timeouts at the end of the 1st half.  You can't take them with you, so you might as well use them, even if it is save 5 yards.    

Another example from the NFL yesterday where the Bucs were on their own 2 yard line and the play clock was ticking down.  No reason to burn that 2nd half timeout when the penalty will back you up from the 2 to the 1.    



November 20th, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

Don't have a problem with the 1st timeout, especially in the first half. It's coming out of the timeout and still not knowing what you are doing, so you call a 2nd.  That is an issue, lol


November 20th, 2017 at 3:53 PM ^

In Saturday's game was the textbook example of exactly how not to do it.

Wasting a timeout to run a wildcat that everyone knew would gain maybe 18 inches on 3rd and 8.

Then wasting another one because wasting one.