40 Yards Scouting


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Contact Downfield

While officially the pass interference (PI) rules differ very little from those we see in the professional game, it is widely accepted that officiating crews in the NCAA certainly permit greater contact, physicality and hand fighting downfield. Whereas every deep pass now on Sundays is accompanied shortly after with a sea of yellow flags, in the collegiate game, unless the interference is obvious (i.e arm around body, pulling on one or more arms while not looking back in the direction of the pass), clean competition for the ball is widely allowed, which in my opinion makes for an improved flow to the game and genuine competitive play. Cornerback is one of the toughest, if not the most challenging position in football and collegiately this is recognised. Many cornerback/wide receiver draft prospects who win by dominating their opponent physically, will often find the transition to the NFL tough initially, where less ‘grabbing’ is allowed to pass, if any. When pass interference is called on Saturdays, it is punishable only by a 15-yard penalty, rather than at the spot of the foul as we see in the NFL. Whereas a PI/holding call is devastating to a defence in the pros and the very balance of a contest, at the collegiate level it is much less so and arguably a fairer means of penalising the offending unit. You will notice here that more often than not, the wide receiver, especially those that succeed by dint of their god-given size, are just as physical and sometimes more so than the defensive backs attempting to stop them. The result is we see fascinating downfield contests, where those who are the strongest, possess the both the ball skills and focus win out.

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