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College Football/personal foul


I understand the new targeting rule. My question is more of an historical nature. Is it the discretion of an official to call a personal foul when a player makes a hard hit or block on a quarterback or kicker if that player was not actively pursuing the play or not close to the play such as after an interception.


It is absolutely in the discretion of an official to call a personal foul when a player makes a hit on a player who is "obviously out of the play."  That is different from targeting.  With respect to targeting, these players are deemed "defenseless," so that a player cannot forcefully contact the head or neck area of these players who are out of the play.  That said, if the players are obviously out of the play, they shouldn't be blocked at all (resulting in a personal foul).  

Rule 9-1-12(b) provides: "No player shall run into or throw himself against an opponent obviously out of the play either before or after the ball is dead." The result is a personal foul.

I hope that answers your question.  With regard to targeting, a kicker and a QB after a change of possession are always deemed to be defenseless.  They can be blocked (if making an attempt to get to the ball carrier), but not to the head or neck area (and not low, which is always illegal after a change of possession).

Bill Robers  

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William Robers


I can answer rules questions and officiating questions (including training, mechanics, and general questions).


College Football Official since 2005; assist in training newer officials.

Big Sky Conference Officials Association Sports Lawyers Association Rotary International

Law Degree from University of Minnesota Law School, 2001 MBA from Carlson School of Management at the U. of Minnesota, 2001 B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University, 1997

Awards and Honors
Post-Season official in 2012 and 2013.

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