Football Running Plays
A running play in football is when the quarterback hands off the ball to a running back to run with it on the field.
The Ball Carrier
The ball carrier is the player that has the ball in his possession. On a running play the ball carrier is typically the running back.
The running back is a player on offense that gets the ball via a hand off from the quarterback at the start of a down. There are three types of running backs:
PRO TIP: Running backs can also catch passes as receivers.
A fumble is a ball that is dropped by the ball carrier. On running plays, the ball carrier is typically the running back. A fumble can be recovered by any player on the field.
Down By Contact
Down by contact in football happens when the ball carrier touches the ground with any part of his body below the knees.
In the NFL down by contact happens when both knees of the ball carrier touch the ground.
In the NCAA down by contact happens when one knee of the ball carrier touches the ground.
Forward progress defines the yardage that a ball carrier gains during a down. If the ball carrier reaches a yard line on a down and is then pushed backwards, the line of scrimmage will still be that furthest yard line.
For example, if the ball carrier reaches the 50 yard line on a down and is then pushed backwards five yards to the 45-yard line to the down ending, the line of scrimmage will still be the 50 yard line. This is due to forward progress.