RARELY does the offense succeed in deluding the defense to such a marked degree. The play had all the appearance of a rush at its inception but by the clever passage of the ball from one player to another changed its aspect in a twinkling of the eye - not until, however, it had drawn the defense backfield away from the zone into which the pass was thrown.

The receiver was evidently entirely unnoticed by the defense, for he is seen in the act of catching the ball with no one near him. The play naturally resulted in a long gain, the runner finally being tackled by the defensive player whose shadow appears at the extreme left of the picture.

Harvard vs. Princeton 1921.

So far we have considered certain phases from the offensive point of view only. We have learned that although practically every player on the offense is subject to a tremendous phsy-ical exertion in every play, yet he has the great advantage of knowing, through the medium of numerical signals, which of his team is to handle the ball, where the play is to be directed, and in case a starting signal is used, when the ball is to be put into play.

The defense, on the other hand, have no knowledge of any of these all-important factors which in itself constitutes its greatest problem. Although the linemen are subject to great physical strain during every play, yet they and the entire backfield undergo at all times tremendous mental uncertainty as to what the offense are going to do next. By reference to the diagrams we can see how the various offensive formations are at once answered by a corresponding shift in the distribution of the defense, but having thus theoretically prepared for any move the offensive may make, the moment the ball is put in play they are at once subjected to many pitfalls. Could they but recognize the signals, no offensive move would be successful. They must however, remain in ignorance of its nature not only before the play begins, but for an appreciable time after it starts.

It is this necessary hesitancy of action which gives to the offensive an initial advantage best illustrated by the cohesive charge of the offensive line. Were the opposing linemen certain of a plunging type of play they could easily meet the attack with little or no gain, but the defensive tackle, for instance, has learned that he cannot afford always to plunge headlong at the apex of a play apparently aimed well to his left, because bitter experience has taught him that the play may, by a change of direction, develop to his right. So also an end must always beware of the dreaded criss-cross play which starts toward one end and by the concealed passage of the ball from one player to another develops in the opposite direction. (Plate IX)

Consider the predicament of a wing halfback who sees the runner dashing toward the flank which he is guarding. If the play is really a rush, he should move forward to tackle the runner before he has gained material distance. If, however, the play develops into a forward pass, it is his bounden duty to locate the player who is to receive the pass and to be in a proper position to intercept it. He is between the devil and the deep sea. In fact were it not for the rule which compels the offense to execute a forward pass at least five yards behind a line where the ball is put in play his position would be quite untenable.