Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bad Coaching + Bad Coaching = Every Game I Watch

Scene set: Miami leads Oklahoma 21-20 with two minutes and change remaining. Miami possesses the ball. 3rd & 6 at the Oklahoma 35 yard line. Sooners out of timeouts. Hurricanes earn first down with 7-yard pass. Clock running...and the Canes wouldn't have to snap the ball again until around 1:58 or 1:59.

In other words: Game over. Hurricanes prevail. Several people clap their hands and high five their friends. Others hang their head and wish to be alone for the rest of the evening. And so on. And so on. And whatnot.

Well, that's the way I saw it. It seemed pretty simple. But Miami's head football coach Randy Shannon and Oklahoma's fearless leader Bob Stoops must be pretty new to this whole football thing.

Instead of instructing quarterback Jacory Harris to milk the clock and kneel on three consecutive plays, Randy Shannon figured it would be wise to run another play. Seriously! More on this in a second.

Meanwhile, on the opposite sideline, Bob Stoops was channeling Marvin Lewis, and somehow out-dumbing Randy Shannon...

Okay, with the play clock resetting to forty seconds after each play, and with Miami not needing to snap the ball until just under the two-minute mark, it's not difficult to do the math: forty + forty + forty = two minutes = Oklahoma has no chance to get the ball back. None. Zero. Zilch.

So, that being the case, Bob Stoops should've subtly ordered up the "If they're stupid enough to actually run another play, as opposed to kneeling down and ending the game, make it seem like you're really trying and let 'em score a touchdown" defense. For some reason -- even when it's their absolute last resort -- coaches rarely employ said strategy.

Okay, back to Miami's first down play...

They ran a simple run off right guard, and Running Back X made it through the first wave of defenders, cut back left and gained 12 or 14 yards. Of course, Oklahoma's defense hustled to the ball, dragged Running Back X down from behind...and ended any chance of (a.) getting the ball back, (b.) tying the game at 28 and (c.) winning in overtime.



Randy Shannon is a dope. Again, all he had to do was take off is headset and order up three kneel downs. This is basic stuff here, boys and girls. But he risked a turnover, which could've led to a catastrophic loss. Which would've more-or-less ruined their chances of making a BCS bowl game. And in case you haven't watched collegiate football since 1998, the difference in dollars a school earns for its conference by participating in a BCS bowl game is a teeny tiny bit different than playing in the Blue Bonnet Bowl (or whatever). For instance: In (I think) 2006 Rutgers barely missed playing in a BCS bowl game -- which would've netted something like $13 million for the Big East -- and wound up playing in a bowl game that raked in a whopping $600,000 for the conference. See what I'm saying?

Now, I realize I'm going overboard with all the hypotheticals, but screw you, this is my website.

So, like I said, Miami ran the damn ball when they absolutely, positively didn't have to. This was a monumentally stupid decision by Randy Shannon. I mean, he literally gift-wrapped Oklahoma a chance to get the ball back with about 1:45 remaining, trailing by eight. Literally.

This was Oklahoma's only chance to win the game. You let the other guy score, or you lose the game. Simple as that. And a win, sports fans, means Oklahoma would have successfully weathered the storm without Sam Bradford and kept open the slim possibility of playing for a national championship.

Did Bob Stoops think of this? Of course not. He's only paid several million dollars a year to figure out stuff like this.



On first down from well inside the the Sooners' 20, Randy Shannon finally came to his senses and went to the genuflect offense. A few snaps later the game was officially over. And then I started typing the words you're currently reading. It would be safe to say I was in a rage. It would be equally safe to say that I care too much about this crap.

How can two people at the top of their profession be so careless with so much on the line?

More importantly, why am I the only one who notices? Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit, two mammals I really respect, didn't mention what seemed so obvious to me. What gives?

Questions, man. Questions.

-Brad Spieser (