Florida Gators Accused of "Cheating" to Block Punts

The University of Florida Gators are going to Lexington this weekend to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats, and after the Gators blocked three punts in two previous games against the Wildcats, people in Kentucky are bitching bringing up the point that UF may be "cheating" to block punts.

To clarify, the Gators are not so much "cheating" as they are getting away with penalties that go uncalled.

In UF's victory this past weekend over Tennessee though, the issue comes up again as Florida's defensive lineman appear to orchestrate a blocking scheme against the Volunteers' offensive lineman -- yes, we understand this sounds ass-backwards -- while the Gators' speedy Chris Rainey went straight through to block the punt.

This theory comes courtesy of the Lexington Herald-Leader's John Clay, who was told by Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips that hooking the offensive linemen is how Florida blocks the punts, although Phillips didn't go as far to call it "cheating."

Here's a screenshot from the video just before the blocked punt in last week's game against Tennessee, with some of our amateur illustrative skills:

And here's the NCAA rules that would make it appear that the Gators are getting away with an illegal technique:

ARTICLE 4. a. Defensive players may use hands and arms to push, pull, ward off or lift offensive players when attempting to reach the runner.

b. Defensive players may not use hands and arms to tackle, hold or otherwise illegally obstruct an opponent other than a ball carrier.

PENALTY--10 yards [S42].

c. Defensive players may use hands and arms to push, pull, ward off or lift offensive players obviously attempting to block them. Defensive players may ward off or legally block an eligible pass receiver until that player occupies the same yard line as the defender or until the opponent could not possibly block him. Continuous contact is illegal (A.R. 9-3-4-I, II and IV).

PENALTY--10 or 15 yards [S38, S42, S43 or S45].

Rainey now holds the SEC record for career blocked punts with five, and unless the refs change their minds about the aforementioned theory, don't be surprised to see a punt going the wrong way in Lexington this weekend.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley