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I would like to see the National Federation change the rule as it relates to the Rugby Punt. There needs to be a rule that says that if a punter takes more than 3 steps he becomes a runner and is therefore unprotected if he is tackled after the ball is punted. It seems unfair for these types of punters to be able to run 5-6 yards at an angle while making the decision to run or punt, then decides to punt and is tackled and the tackler is flagged for roughing the punter.

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That is a terrible idea. You are basically saying you want defenders to have free reign to blow punters up if they take more than 3 steps. Are you putting any protections for the punter if he is in the air, or for his plant leg? 

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I have seen in several games this year where the punter will roll out appearing to look for a potential receiver or a running lane.  When it does not appear they punt.  The defenders are in an awkward position.   They are coming full throttle and the punter / runner punts the ball without really breaking stride.

It is a safety issue so I do not expect a change and I am not sure how it could be handled.


 

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1 hour ago, coachE42 said:

That is a terrible idea. You are basically saying you want defenders to have free reign to blow punters up if they take more than 3 steps. Are you putting any protections for the punter if he is in the air, or for his plant leg? 

I agree that we can't give defenders free reign over blowing up punters, but I agree with both Glenn and Btango that the rule should be changed, or at the very least addressed.  I have seen the maneuver of deception used by these style punters to create an unfair advantage for themselves.  

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I do have a question on this topic. Let’s say the rules does change and a punter can only take 3 steps then the punter becomes a runner after 3 steps.  let’s say he takes 4-5 steps but the ref doesn’t catch it. Then the punter is hit and then the player that hit the punter is called for  roughing the punter. My thing is I could see issues of close cases one way or the other. Any thoughts on close calls in a situation like this. Excuse me if I ask a dumb question on this. I never football. 

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V Val that is like most any other call, it has judgement involved.  I am sure some will be flagged when they should not and some will not get a flag when one is merited.

It is only with the sidewinder rollout punters fir the most part.

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If my memory is correct, and please correct me if I'm not. If the punter takes the ball outside of the box, he is fair game. is that just a college rule? On a past team I remember us coaching up if you get a shot to tackle to rugby kicker then do it.

 

Something like this: Granted this is NCAA...

Is there a way to negate the advantage the punting team gains by adopting this strategy? Actually, in a welcome instance of the NCAA rules committee making a salutary change to the guidelines governing the sport, there is:

Let’s start with the basics:

Rule 2-15-1-a: Kicking the ball is intentionally striking the ball with the knee, lower leg or foot.
Rule 2-15-2: A punt is a kick by a player who drops the ball and kicks it before it strikes the ground.
Rule 2-15-7-a: A scrimmage kick made in or behind the neutral zone is a legal kick by Team A during a scrimmage down before team possession changes.
Rule 2-16-10-a: A scrimmage kick formation is a formation with at least one player seven yards or more behind the neutral zone, no player in position to receive a hand-to-hand snap from between the snapper’s legs, and it is obvious that a kick may be attempted.

Leaving aside the fact that the NCAA needs a lesson in why one should use the Oxford comma all the time, we’re now clear that a punt is a legal form of scrimmage kick made from a scrimmage kick formation. Now we turn to the fellow who will be doing the kicking:

Rule 2-26-3-a: The kicker is any player who punts, drop kicks or place kicks according to rule. He remains the kicker until he has had a reasonable time to regain his balance.
Rule 9-1-4-a: When it is obvious that a scrimmage kick will be made, no opponent shall run into or rough the kicker or the holder of a place kick.

A kicker---that includes a punter---is protected from being run into or roughed when it is obvious he will attempt a scrimmage kick---that includes a punt---as long as he’s the kicker, which he remains until he has had the opportunity to regain his balance. Note, though, the exception to the latter rule (with citations and obfuscate punctuation omitted):

Rule 9-1-4-a-5-b: The kicker’s protection under this rule ends when he carries the ball outside the tackle box before kicking.

The tackle box is defined by Rule 2-34 as "the rectangular area enclosed by the neutral zone, the two lines parallel to the sidelines five yards from the snapper, and Team A’s end line." If he stays behind the line of scrimmage and within five yards on either side of the snapper, the punter is inside the tackle box; if he moves up into the neutral zone, or if he moves more than five yards in the direction of the sideline, he’s a ballcarrier.

In fact, the "Approved Ruling" on Rule 9-1-4 in the back of the NCAA Rulebook states unambiguously that "[t]here is no kicker until the ball is kicked." That makes sense, when you think about it; the rule isn’t designed to protect kickers just because, e.g., placekickers tend to be smaller than the average Division I-A college football player. Rather, the rule is there to protect holders, placekickers, and punters when they are in especially vulnerable positions. The rule is strictly a safety measure, not unlike the rule protecting a defenseless player. If a kicker (a term that includes punters) runs a fake, bobbles the snap and attempts to recover his own fumble, or even stands there with the ball and makes no move to put his foot into the pigskin, he’s not a kicker under the rule, so the receiving team is under no obligation to treat him as if he were wearing a green practice jersey.

That same Approved Ruling includes the following illustration:

Punter A22 is 15 yards behind the neutral zone when he catches the long snap, sprints to his right at an angle toward the line of scrimmage, and runs outside the tackle box. He then stops and punts the ball, and is immediately hit by a diving B89. RULING: Legal play, no foul by B89. A22 loses his roughing or running into protection by carrying the ball outside the tackle box.

The bottom line, then, is this: Our special teams players need to be acutely aware when lining up to receive a punt of the point that marks the 15th foot from the snapper to the sideline along the line of scrimmage. If the punter rolls out and crosses that point, he is, quite literally, not a punter under NCAA rules. He can and should be introduced to the landscaping with celerity, asperity, and severity. The rules of college football specifically and explicitly provide that there is an instant at which a rugby-style punter is a ballcarrier rather than a kicker; at that instant, he should be brought down, and brought down hard, so that opposing coaches will go back to punting properly when facing the return team.

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I have utilized the Rugby style kick, I spoke with the refs before the games.  They always told me, while he has possession of the ball he is a runner, once he plants and kicks he is a kicker and roughing or running into the kicker can be called.  This is the same rule as if a QB kicks the ball, up until the ball is kicked they are a threat and considered a runner/passer, once they kick it they are the kicker and are protected.  

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That is a terrible idea. You are basically saying you want defenders to have free reign to blow punters up if they take more than 3 steps. Are you putting any protections for the punter if he is in the air, or for his plant leg? 

Not the case at all. A conventional punter does not create the problem a Rugby style punter creates. Perhaps the 3 strep reference is not the answer. However, just as btango was explaining to you is the fact that in many cases this style punter acts as a runner before he punts the ball. Do you think it is fair for the kid rushing to be put in a hands off position not being allowed to tackle the punter while the punter is allowed to run to the LOS free from being tackled simply because it is 4th down and he lines up to punt. That is basically what is happening now. This is a luxury  that conventional punters are not afforded. I don't have the answer, do you? Perhaps the tackle box restriction is the way to go. It is a huge safety concern and needs to be addressed.

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I have utilized the Rugby style kick, I spoke with the refs before the games.  They always told me, while he has possession of the ball he is a runner, once he plants and kicks he is a kicker and roughing or running into the kicker can be called.  This is the same rule as if a QB kicks the ball, up until the ball is kicked they are a threat and considered a runner/passer, once they kick it they are the kicker and are protected.  

This is what I have been told as well. The rule is the problem. It needs to be changed.

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The bottom line, then, is this: Our special teams players need to be acutely aware when lining up to receive a punt of the point that marks the 15th foot from the snapper to the sideline along the line of scrimmage. If the punter rolls out and crosses that point, he is, quite literally, not a punter under NCAA rules. He can and should be introduced to the landscaping with celerity, asperity, and severity. The rules of college football specifically and explicitly provide that there is an instant at which a rugby-style punter is a ballcarrier rather than a kicker; at that instant, he should be brought down, and brought down hard, so that opposing coaches will go back to punting properly when facing the return team.

HS FB needs this type of rule. The problem in this case is where this imaginary 15 foot line is located but it is better than what we now use under the NF rules.

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