Did you see the LSU - UNC game last Saturday night? There was an interesting play late in the game. UNC had just scored and attempted an “onsides” kick.
As complicated as football rules are, kicking situations are often more complicated than regular play. One reason is that a kicking play is considered a “planned change of team possession during a loose ball play.” Specific rules governing kicks come into effect as well as a few exceptions.
High school rules include an entire chapter/rule entitled, “Kicking the Ball and Fair Catch.” Also, Rule 2, “Definitions of Playing Terms,” devotes almost an entire page to “Kicks.” A kick is defined as “the intentional striking of the ball with the knee, lower leg or foot.” See how complicated the rules can be? Over the years (14) I’ve seen several test questions on our annual rules test from that statement alone.
Generally, there are two types of kicks: free and scrimmage. There are several types of each of those, i.e., place, drop, and punt. A “kickoff” is “a free kick which puts the ball in play at the beginning of each half of the game, after a successful field goal and after any try.” This is where we pick up the action from last Saturday night in the Georgia Dome.
LSU was ahead at halftime by a score of 30-10. With 2:32 remaining in the game, UNC had scored another touchdown and made the try to trail by six points. On the ensuing kickoff, UNC attempts to get the ball back with what fans and commentators refer to as an “onsides” kick - that term is not in our rule book.
More applicable rules apply. Before the kicking team may legally touch the ball, the ball must have:
1) traveled ten yards
2) touched the ground.