Yes the defense can rush the quarterback from the rushing line which is 7 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Rushing the Quarterback

  • Rushers need to be 7 yards off of the line of scrimmage.  The Referee will stand 7 yards from the ball and mark the spot.
    • Rushers do not need to declare or indicate that they are rushing
    • They do not need to be standing right next to the Referee.  The Rusher just needs to be aligned with the referee on that 7 yard line.
  • More than 1 child can rush from that 7 yard line 
    • Coaches could rush all 5 kids if they wanted
    • However it is not recommend as it leaves your defense vulnerable to a quick pass. 
  • Once the ball starts to move on the snap the rusher may start their rush
    • If the rusher leaves early they are permitted to go back to the 7 yard line and reset to restart their rush
    • If rusher leaves early, a flag is not thrown until the rusher crosses the line of scrimmage
    • The Rusher must avoid the center in their current position. 
  • The Rusher is not permitted to make any contact with the QB and should come in under control as they attempt to pull the QB's flag
    • The Center should not step into where the defender is rushing as the Defender should have a clear line to rush the QB
Please note that when the QB is rushed, that does not allow the QB to run with the ball.  The QB can never advance the ball past the line of scrimmage after receiving the direct snap.  

Defenders who are lines up less than 7 yards from the line of scrimmage:

  • Are not permitted to cross the line of scrimmage until the Quarterback (the person receiving the snap) either hands off the ball or pitches the ball.  
  • There is no counting for when defenders who are not lined up at the rushing line can cross the line scrimmage.  
    • Players not at the rushing line are only permitted to cross the line of scrimmage when the quarterback hands off or pitches the ball.   
  • The Quarterback does have 7 seconds to throw or handoff the ball.  At the end of 7 seconds the play is blown dead.  

Illegal Rush Penalty

  • 10 yards penalty from the Line of scrimmage and replay of the down
  • Offense can decline the penalty and take the yards gain on the play. 
    • Typically if play is longer than 10 yards then the penalty should be decline
  • Play should not be blown dead due to the penalty as play should continue to go on
    • The one exception is on a turn over.  If the ball is intercepted the play should then be blown dead due to the penalty as Offense would regain possession of the ball.