In a time of little to no high school, college, or NFL football, high school prospects take their talents to a simulated football field. This is the time where 7 on 7 football rules the high school football scene. For those of you who don't know what 7 on 7 football is, I'll give you a simplified breakdown.
7 on 7 is a watered down version of football. First of all, they play on a 50-yard field (that includes the 10-yards for the endzone) and they start the ball 40-yards from the endzone, no matter where the defense stopped the offense. In those 40 yards, there is only one first down marker. Since there are only seven players on both sides of the ball, the offense can only pass the ball. Their reasoning is football has been moving towards a pass first offense, so both offensive and defensive players need to prepare themselves adequately for the next level.
A defensive player can't tackle the ball carrier because there are no pads or equipment. So the only way someone can be brought down is by tapping them with one or two hands below the neck. There are penalties for both defenses and offenses, but they are limited to holding, pass interference, illegal motion (offense only), delay of game clock, illegal rushing (defense only), and off-sides. This is just the basics, for more information you can click here.
Just a week ago, Stanford head coach, David Shaw, had some comments about 7 on 7 football:
Heard David Shaw (Stanford HFC) talk this weekend. He is NOT a big fan of 7v7 in terms of recruiting... pic.twitter.com/PdCTA6hGE5— Coach Haugh (@CoachKHaugh) March 6, 2016
At first one could make the argument for Coach Shaw and say, 7 on 7 isn't real football. They don't tackle, they can't rush, and there is no run game or play action play calls. But that doesn't matter because highly touted recruits play this game and it means a lot to them. It isn't a question of whether Coach Shaw is right or wrong in regards to this watered down football, it is a question of why did he say it?
This is the closest sport to football where kids can play in the off-season. Rather than sitting on the couch and playing Madden 16, recruits are coming out and working hard developing their route running, catching, coverage skills, and other skills that can be easily translated back onto the gridiron. Also, kids love to use these tournaments to keep their competitive edge, and play with other highly touted recruits in their area who aren't on their high school team. Kids love to play in these tournaments because it is the closest sport to football they can play before the season, they can develop on crucial aspects of their game, and they can play with other recruits they wouldn't be able to because they attend different schools.
The comments Shaw made could be taken out of context, but the reporter stated, "I wanted to be as accurate as possible as I certainly would NOT want to misrepresent anything said by Coach Shaw in any way."
Coach Shaw has a strong opinion about 7 on 7 football and he has the right to have them. Some high targets this year, Darnay Holmes and Elijah Molden, both play on 7 on 7 teams and Stanford could really use them in their secondary. These comments do nothing except raise red flags for recruits and alienate possible recruits.