Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Contrast In Bad Offensive Coaching

Both my alumni, the Tennessee Volunteers and the Ohio State Buckeyes lost close games yesterday that went down to the wire. The scores were even similar as the Vols lost 19-15 at home and the Buckeyes lost 18-15 at home. But although in my opinion the offensive game plans of each team lost them the game, they were on opposite ends of the spectrum.

With my Vols it was a frustrating game to watch because instead of using our big powerful offensive line and our stable of backs to pound UCLA into submission, Lane Kiffin inexplicably decided to put the game in the hands of senior quarterback Johnathan Crompton. For those who may not have been paying attention last year, Crompton started the season off then as the Vols starting quarterback and then had a just god awful game against UCLA to start the year and lost his starting position. Well he may have had a worse game yesterday and yet Kiffin kept trying to show his guru cred passing the ball instead of unleashing our backs on the Bruins. Mind you last week one of the only points of concern when the Vols faced Western Kentucky was Crompton's interceptions.

Not only was Kiffin pass happy but he was also bootleg pass happy, consistently putting Crompton in positions where he had pressure in his face right away and had to make quick decisions with the ball. For a kid who was already having a tough game, that was almost cruel to watch. Then when we actually get into a situation where we do need a pass, on 4th and 3 near the goal line with the game on the line, Kiffin calls a run right up the middle.

Guru my ass!

Ohio State on the other hand was too conservative, mostly when they got near the goalline. For reasons that are not obvious to me, Jim Tressell decided against going with a quarterback sneak twice when the Buckeyes were within the 2 yard line. Instead of using one of the most dynamic running quarterbacks in major college football right now, Terrelle Pryor, on a sneak, he decided to kick two field goals. Well field goals will get you beat against a good team and USC is a little bit better than good. Besides that Ohio States defense was playing really well up until the last drive of the game and had Pryor not been able to get the ball in the endzone, USC would have had the ball backed up with a freshman quarterback on about the one yardline.

In all reality this is the reason why Tressell now has the reputation of not winning the big games. You can not let opportunities like that slip away just because you are trying not to lose. I found myself being conflicted watching the game because I had a feeling that Ohio State would win and that Pryor would have a big game and also that USC was somewhat overrated. But watching those kinds of coaching moves I had a hard time pulling for Ohio State. I can not abide coaches who do not play to win. They do a disservice to their teams and their schools.

I love watching football and the games yesterday were phenomenal, but I hate to see games where coaches fail their players. I feel like in both of these games the coaches should take full responsibility because they had the better teams but didn't make the better decisions.

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