Why won't the lineman move?
December 1, 2009 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone explain why the linesman in this video clip of the Florida/FSU football game last Saturday did not move as the play unfolded?

I am no football expert, but I do waste a lot of time watching it. But in the video, you will see a lineman on the right side (tackle? guard? I don't know) not even leave his stance as the play unfolds - every other player on the field is engaged in the play, while this guy sits there frozen. The quarterback even runs right past him.

I can think of no strategic reason for this to happen - has anyone out there heard a full explanation?
posted by RajahKing to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
That's kind of surreal. The youtube comments seem to think it was a grudge of some sort, which is about the only explanation I can think of either. It's certainly not strategic, but he could be getting back at one of his teammates for something.
posted by echo target at 9:04 AM on December 1, 2009

If you notice, both linemen do nothing to stop the guy in front of them from rushing on the quarterback. They remain perfectly still. The difference is after the guy whips by them, the fellow on the left after a few seconds stands up and takes in the situation and then starts to move as if to help block.

I think it was a play and the fellow who didn't move simply forgot the rest of his assignment or something. Perhaps he was supposed to be a non-moving block that the quarterback could rely upon.
posted by Atreides at 9:13 AM on December 1, 2009

Somebody is mad at the quarterback. Guess who? lol
posted by andryeevna at 9:17 AM on December 1, 2009

My guess is that he flinched earlier in the game at a bluffed pass rush by the defensive line, got called for illegal procedure, then when he got to the sideline some coach said something like, "If they move one inch offside, you don't move even if your life depends on it! I catch you moving before the whistle blows and you'll be running until your puke pukes!!!"

He thought the D-line moved and obeyed his coach's demand.

Only thing I could think of.
posted by lpsguy at 9:24 AM on December 1, 2009

Maybe the defensive line jumped offsides? when that happens the o-line will sometimes freeze to help draw attention to the offsides. If you get the call, you're gaining 5 yards no matter what, so you might as well run the play 10 v. 11 or 9 vs. 11 and see if you can get lucky with a gain greater than 5.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:25 AM on December 1, 2009

Honestly, my first thought was 'seizure.'
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:30 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

The center forgot the snap count and snapped the ball early (let's say on "Hut one"), none of the other 4 linemen moved. The left guard and the left tackle decide to move as their opponent goes by them (the defense moves when the ball is snapped, not on the quarterback cadence.) The right guard decides to move when it is obvious that the quarterback is never going to say Hut two. The right tackle never moves because the quarterback never says hut two, and he has been drilled not to move until the quarterback tells the center to snap the ball.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2009

It looks to me like revenge. QB or coach possibly chewed them out. Most likely the QB. So they let the defense walk by in the hopes of the QB getting sacked.

It could have been a mistake though. But it is weird that both the guard and tackle both froze. It's possible that neither heard the call so they told one another what play they thought they heard and went with that. Offensive linemen, though usually portrayed as idiots in movies and pop culture are usually pretty damn smart. If they both thought of the wrong play they would have corrected for that within a second of the ball being snapped. They didn't really (especially the tackle) so it is a bit of a mystery.

As for strategic uses, sometimes you will see a QB sneak play where the whole line will just stay put then they will call out a long count in an attempt to draw the defense offside, if that doesn't work then the ball is snapped and the QB and center only move forward. But that is usually only on short yardage plays with a tightened up line.
posted by WickedPissah at 9:52 AM on December 1, 2009

I swear that when I was watching this game (or maybe after the game) I saw a highlight reel and commentators talking about a situation where ALL of the FSU linemen froze and didn't move during a play. I wasn't really listening but I turned around to see the ball snap and non of the linemen moved. The commentators were calling it the "frozen in concrete play" (or something equally as witty). I never could catch what they were talking about.

So, I can't explain that YT clip, but there's got to be another one out there (maybe from a different game) showing the entire line frozen.
posted by MultiFaceted at 10:26 AM on December 1, 2009

Defense was offsides, at least in the play where all the FSU linemen didn't move. It is, apparently, called a Freeze Play...at least unofficially. Now, why they do that instead of taking the free play, I couldn't find the answer to that.

I CANNOT believe I know the answer to a football question, and saw the plays to boot! My husband would be so proud.....
posted by lemonade at 11:33 AM on December 1, 2009

These explanations sound good, and I'm really intrigued by this question. One of my friends/acquaintances/former classmates happens to play for FSU and is a starter on their DEFENSIVE line, but perhaps he can give me some insight on to why the O-Line did this.

No guarantee on a quick answer, and the "Freeze Play" hypothesis seems much more plausible than revenge at the QB as most of the linemen stood still at first and refused to block. I'm adding this to my favorites and maybe my buddy can shed some more light on this.
posted by seandq at 4:59 PM on December 1, 2009

Thanks everyone - I think it is the Freeze Play that lemonade refers to, above.
posted by RajahKing at 7:31 PM on December 1, 2009

I don't buy the Freeze Play. That sounds like booster club logic.

"It's not a bug, it's a feature."
posted by thomsplace at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2009

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