All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of (7) yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the QB. Players not rushing the QB may defend on the line of scrimmage.
Once the ball is handed off, the 7-yard line rule is NO longer in effect and ALL defenders may go beyond the line of scrimmage.
A special marker, or the referee, will designate a RUSH line (7) yards from the line of scrimmage. Defensive players should verify they are in the correct position with the official on every play.
** A legal rush is:
Any rush from a point 7-yards from the defensive line of scrimmage.
A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the QB
If a rusher leaves the rush line early, they may return to the rush line, reset and then legally rush the QB.
If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off BEFORE they cross the line of scrimmage, they may legally rush the QB.
** A penalty may be called if:
The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap and crosses the line of scrimmage before a hand off or pass – Illegal Rush ( 5 yards LOS and first down )
Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – Off sides ( 5 yards LOS and first down )
Any defensive player, not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is passed or handed off – Illegal rush ( 5 yards LOS and first down )
** Special Circumstances
- Teams are NOT required to rush the QB, 7-second or 5-second clock is in effect.
- If rusher leaves the 7-yard line before the snap, he/she can immediately drop back to act as a defender with no offside penalty enforced.
Players rushing the QB may attempt to block a pass. However, NO contact can be made with the QB in any way.
The Offense cannot impede the rusher in any way. The rusher must have a CLEAR PATH to the QB and any interference that would impede his/her path to the QB will be considered screening. The defense may attempt to block a pass provided they do not strike the passer.
Blocking the pass and then striking the passer will result in a 10-yard penalty
** A safety is awarded if a sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone.