By popular request, let’s get the talk going about the rule change enacted last week by the NFHS that makes the A-11 Offense that was created at Piedmont High illegal. Essentially, the exception (some have called in a loophole) that Piedmont had been using by having all of its lineman wear eligible numbers in a scrimmage kick formation, was closed. The coaching staff at Piedmont is feverishly working to try to set something up to allow the offense to still be used, and I’ll update more as I get information on that. For now, here’s the excerpt from the View from the Tower column that I wrote on the subject that appeared in Tuesday’s paper. Sorry for not getting this on the blog earlier.
By Jimmy Durkin
IN TWO SEASONS OF USE, the A-11 Offense created at Piedmont High never has faced a defense like the one it’s up against now.
Among the rule changes for next season announced Friday by the National Federation of State High School Associations is one that puts a major crimp in the future of the A-11, a football offense initiated by Piedmont coaches Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries in which all 11 players on the field are potentially eligible to catch a pass.
“The definition of a scrimmage-kick formation was clarified to differentiate formations that have been used traditionally for attempting a field goal or kick … from those used for a punt,” Bob Colgate, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Football Rules Committee, said in a release. “In addition, the circumstances under which the numbering exception can be utilized have been changed to clarify what can be done on first, second, third and fourth downs.”
What the change means is that on first, second and third down, at least four players must wear Nos. 50-79, making them ineligible to catch a pass. The center may wear an eligible number, but he is also ineligible.
One of the bases for the A-11 — an offense that has spread throughout the country — was the idea that all players, including lineman, wore eligible numbers (1-49, 80-99) in a scrimmage kick formation that allowed the team to shift just before the snap to create a countless combination of eligible receivers. Depending on the formation shift and the play call, a pass could be thrown to one of the six receivers spread wide or even one of the down lineman — of which the base formation had only three.
But the rule change, which Bryan said was voted on by people who have never seen a game utilizing the A-11, makes the offense illegal except on fourth down.
The fact that the rule change was made should come as little surprise, given the amount of chatter the offense has received since its inception in the 2007 season. While there’s been plenty of support, it’s typically been bad-mouthed by football traditionalists.
Despite this latest setback, Bryan said the A-11 will not go down without a fight. Piedmont plans to fight to allow programs to continue using the A-11. Those that have benefitted typically are smaller schools that lack the big offensive lineman needed for a more traditional offense.
“It is our first hope that the NFHS is able to change with the times and will be most willing to help create an A-11 football sub-federation within the framework of their existing organization,” Bryan said in a statement. “If yes, then everybody wins, especially the schools like ours nationwide.