The NCAA has a new blindside block rule for the 2019 season, and just ahead of Week 1 it released a video explaining the rule and providing examples of blocks from previous seasons.
Not all blindside blocks – defined as an open-field block “initated from outside the opponent’s field of vision” – are illegal, but those deemed to have been carried out by a player “attacking … with forcible contact” are a personal foul and a 15-yard penalty.
The video doesn’t show much of a middle ground – the only legal blindside block included in the video has exceedingly little contact, while the would-be penalties are eye-popping hits that send players flying.
The video also explains how the blindside block and the new targeting rule interact. All targeting calls are automatically reviewed by replay, and beginning this season a targeting penalty can’t merely “stand”; it must be either confirmed or reversed.
If an official calls a targeting call on an illegal blindside block, the replay can reverse the targeting penalty (and automatic ejection) but not the blindside block personal foul. Those 15 yards aren’t going anywhere.