Question about the clock

Noticed several times last night the official run in to allow OM time to substitute on D because FSU had substituted on offense. However, it often looked to be late in the clock when the play clock was in single digits. If the official steps in late like that is the offense still subject to a delay penalty?

Could a team (OM) try to substitute very late to try to force a penalty or time out? Is there some point in the play clock that the D is not allowed to substitute?

Delay of game penalty is called on the offense if play clock expired. In your example, Ole Miss wouldn’t be called for a penalty. I believe the only time a delay penalty can be called on the defense is when a defender on the line of scrimmage hits the ball away from the center.

However, surely there is a certain amount of time before the snap that the offense can’t substitute after. If not, an offense with a lead could kill more clock by running another player on to the field with 5 seconds left on the play clock, forcing the official to halt play until the defense has the same opportunity. But I’ve never heard of a time the offensive player has to be on the field by.

In the example you cite, it would depend on when the offense made their substitution, and how long the defense took to react. If the offense substitutes late in the play clock, it is fully appropriate for the offense to suffer a delay of game penalty if the defender did not get on the field in time. Why? Because it was the offense’s choice to make the late personnel substitution, and that act allows the defense to react to the change with a personnel change of their own. The offense is aware that the defense has the right to make an adjustment if the offense makes a substitution, so if they opt to make that move, they have to live with the repercussions of the defense reacting. At a certain point, the referee may not allow the offense to substitute just for that reason.

Obviously, the defense cannot take 10-15 seconds to respond. The ref standing over the ball has to judge if they are slow-playing it or not. If they (defense) do, that’s a different story. He can choose to put the ball in play with the defense only having 10 men on the field (which IS legal, if the defense is dumb enough to line up that way), or to flag the defense for either delay or unsportsmanlike conduct.

If you substitute late, you are putting yourself at risk for just that kind of penalty. But, I have not seen it called. Generally, they let the defense sub and then let the offense run the play. In the spirit of the rule, yes, you would be at risk for that kind of penalty for a late sub.