Fourth down call - Could they have run a play call worse than that?

bigl3327

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The fourth down call was horrible.. Snap the ball five yards deep then slowly had the ball off to 175 pound running back up the middle. Why do our coaches do this ?. What is the success rate for a quarterback sneak with six inches to make. Heupel must have got trained under the Butch Jones school of quarterback play... A touchdown ties the game !!!!!!!
It is the exact same play we had scored on twice in the game on short yardage situations. Once with the same running back (who weighs 200lbs, by the way). Jerome Carvin (a player) stated that it was the fault of the O line. Missed assignments due to lack of proper communication. If there was a bad call by Heupel in the situation it was not challenging the spot on the Hooker run that made it 4th and inches. Replay clearly shows he got the first down by at least half a yard. No one has questioned the running out of shotgun in short yardage situations this year until this play because it's the first time anyone has stopped it. What's funny is if it was blocked correctly and he broke it for a touchdown, everyone would be saying what a great play call it was. 2nd string QB, 3rd string RB, and a couple of back ups on the OL. There is a good possibility that QB/center exchanges had been shaky in practice with the back up QB and back up center. But this offense isn't designed to go under center anyway. It's real easy to call plays from your couch though with zero knowledge of varying factors.
 

volinthenorth

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So there's a whole bunch of talk on this thread about using the "QB sneak" and the "jumbo package" and the basic approach of powering it forward with brute force. But I don't think this is real football thinking. It's more like "fan intuition" which isn't how the game is actually played. The goal isn't to get as close to the LOS as you can and push your way forward. Sometimes, of course, that approach is tried. But it's not without a significant downside, namely, that it gives you one choice only and it telegraphs exactly what you are going to do. So the other team can power up as well, and it's 50/50 as to whether you will out-power them or they will out-power you.

But another approach, which is how coaches actually think, is to retain the upper hand and react to the opponent's decisions and defeat them that way. If you look at the actual play, we had seven blockers against their seven D linemen and linebackers. That is a winning proposition for a running back to enter a situation where every defender is blocked by someone. Any SEC back should be able to get a yard in that situation...which makes it a good call by the coach. Furthermore, the QB can read the play at the mesh point and choose to keep it and go around the line for the first down or even the score. So you have two potential runners entering a LOS where all seven defenders in the box are accounted for by seven blockers. This has a high chance of succcess; it's a good play call.

Unfortunately, what actually happened, as you can see HERE, is that three blockers busted their assignments. The left tackle turned inward, and so did the tight end and the H back beside him on the right. So all they did is clog the center running lanes. They contributed no blocking. This gave the two Pitt linebackers, #36 and #0, the opportunity to enter the backfield immediately, unblocked and unopposed. They converged on our runner who had no lanes in the middle. Since he got trapped by them both, Wright couldn't bounce it outside in either direction. Thus it was a total fail, not because it was a bad play call, but because three players didn't do their job. Or I should say four players, because Hooker could have seen those guys get unblocked while he was still at the mesh point, and so kept the ball to go around them. If you stop the video at 2:00:37, you can see that Hooker can see #36 crashing on Wright before he has released the ball. Hooker should have kept it. Surely #26 would have come up to meet him, but Hooker still could have gotten the first down even if he couldn't elude the man enough to score.

So all this talk about Refrigerator Perry and bulldozing it ahead and starting from as close to the line of scrimmage as possible to give yourself an advantage...well, I think that's fan instinct but not actual football thinking. However, I am just a fan too, so what do I know? I welcome any comments on this. At least we will be discussing the actual play as it was run.
 

volinthenorth

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Can you tell us what the play call was? If it was a straight dive then Pitt anticipated it and stuffed it. If there was a pull option for Hooker then he simply blew it. This has nothing to do with Butch Jones. You are just looking for reasons to tag Heupel with a failure. Let Heupel prove himself. Jones isn't his baggage to carry.
sjt18, I know you are a football guy and I respect your thoughts on this board. Take a look at my post #129 and lmk what you think. Genuinely curious about your view on it.
 
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sjt18

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So there's a whole bunch of talk on this thread about using the "QB sneak" and the "jumbo package" and the basic approach of powering it forward with brute force. But I don't think this is real football thinking. It's more like "fan intuition" which isn't how the game is actually played. The goal isn't to get as close to the LOS as you can and push your way forward. Sometimes, of course, that approach is tried. But it's not without a significant downside, namely, that it gives you one choice only and it telegraphs exactly what you are going to do. So the other team can power up as well, and it's 50/50 as to whether you will out-power them or they will out-power you.

But another approach, which is how coaches actually think, is to retain the upper hand and react to the opponent's decisions and defeat them that way. If you look at the actual play, we had seven blockers against their seven D linemen and linebackers. That is a winning proposition for a running back to enter a situation where every defender is blocked by someone. Any SEC back should be able to get a yard in that situation...which makes it a good call by the coach. Furthermore, the QB can read the play at the mesh point and choose to keep it and go around the line for the first down or even the score. So you have two potential runners entering a LOS where all seven defenders in the box are accounted for by seven blockers. This has a high chance of succcess; it's a good play call.

Unfortunately, what actually happened, as you can see HERE, is that three blockers busted their assignments. The left tackle turned inward, and so did the tight end and the H back beside him on the right. So all they did is clog the center running lanes. They contributed no blocking. This gave the two Pitt linebackers, #36 and #0, the opportunity to enter the backfield immediately, unblocked and unopposed. They converged on our runner who had no lanes in the middle. Since he got trapped by them both, Wright couldn't bounce it outside in either direction. Thus it was a total fail, not because it was a bad play call, but because three players didn't do their job. Or I should say four players, because Hooker could have seen those guys get unblocked while he was still at the mesh point, and so kept the ball to go around them. If you stop the video at 2:00:37, you can see that Hooker can see #36 crashing on Wright before he has released the ball. Hooker should have kept it. Surely #26 would have come up to meet him, but Hooker still could have gotten the first down even if he couldn't elude the man enough to score.

So all this talk about Refrigerator Perry and bulldozing it ahead and starting from as close to the line of scrimmage as possible to give yourself an advantage...well, I think that's fan instinct but not actual football thinking. However, I am just a fan too, so what do I know? I welcome any comments on this. At least we will be discussing the actual play as it was run.
Good post. Someone said earlier that Hooker didn't have a pull option. I don't know. It was open if he did. I think that QB power sweep they ran earlier in the game would have also been a good call.

But you are right about execution. If guys miss assignments then it doesn't work no matter how good or bad the play call is. In fact, great efforts and execution sometimes save terrible play calls.... the call is into the teeth of the D and guys make it work anyway. If well executed this would have been a test of our guys being more physical than their guys. Unfortunately, we will never know how that might have worked out.
 

McDad

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So there's a whole bunch of talk on this thread about using the "QB sneak" and the "jumbo package" and the basic approach of powering it forward with brute force. But I don't think this is real football thinking. It's more like "fan intuition" which isn't how the game is actually played. The goal isn't to get as close to the LOS as you can and push your way forward. Sometimes, of course, that approach is tried. But it's not without a significant downside, namely, that it gives you one choice only and it telegraphs exactly what you are going to do. So the other team can power up as well, and it's 50/50 as to whether you will out-power them or they will out-power you.

But another approach, which is how coaches actually think, is to retain the upper hand and react to the opponent's decisions and defeat them that way. If you look at the actual play, we had seven blockers against their seven D linemen and linebackers. That is a winning proposition for a running back to enter a situation where every defender is blocked by someone. Any SEC back should be able to get a yard in that situation...which makes it a good call by the coach. Furthermore, the QB can read the play at the mesh point and choose to keep it and go around the line for the first down or even the score. So you have two potential runners entering a LOS where all seven defenders in the box are accounted for by seven blockers. This has a high chance of succcess; it's a good play call.

Unfortunately, what actually happened, as you can see HERE, is that three blockers busted their assignments. The left tackle turned inward, and so did the tight end and the H back beside him on the right. So all they did is clog the center running lanes. They contributed no blocking. This gave the two Pitt linebackers, #36 and #0, the opportunity to enter the backfield immediately, unblocked and unopposed. They converged on our runner who had no lanes in the middle. Since he got trapped by them both, Wright couldn't bounce it outside in either direction. Thus it was a total fail, not because it was a bad play call, but because three players didn't do their job. Or I should say four players, because Hooker could have seen those guys get unblocked while he was still at the mesh point, and so kept the ball to go around them. If you stop the video at 2:00:37, you can see that Hooker can see #36 crashing on Wright before he has released the ball. Hooker should have kept it. Surely #26 would have come up to meet him, but Hooker still could have gotten the first down even if he couldn't elude the man enough to score.

So all this talk about Refrigerator Perry and bulldozing it ahead and starting from as close to the line of scrimmage as possible to give yourself an advantage...well, I think that's fan instinct but not actual football thinking. However, I am just a fan too, so what do I know? I welcome any comments on this. At least we will be discussing the actual play as it was run.
Good post. Appreciate the detail.
is #36 the DE for Pitt?
 
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McDad

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DE or LB, Hard to distinguish these days since the ends don't always have their hand in the dirt anymore
I think we are discussing the same person, then.

I watched a clip of the play posted here. I advanced it frame by frame. It was not full screen so I may not have the best eyes on it. But to me it looked like 36 played well disciplined. He contained until the ball was handed to our RB. The frame where our RB is just past our QB is the frame where 36 cuts toward the ball carrier. Did you see it differently?
 
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VOLINVONORE

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The fourth down call was horrible.. Snap the ball five yards deep then slowly had the ball off to 175 pound running back up the middle. Why do our coaches do this ?. What is the success rate for a quarterback sneak with six inches to make. Heupel must have got trained under the Butch Jones school of quarterback play... A touchdown ties the game !!!!!!!
I understand that Hooker pulled except that he handed off rather running off tackle to the right side. Another mistake by a QB.
 

volinthenorth

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Good post. Someone said earlier that Hooker didn't have a pull option. I don't know. It was open if he did. I think that QB power sweep they ran earlier in the game would have also been a good call.

But you are right about execution. If guys miss assignments then it doesn't work no matter how good or bad the play call is. In fact, great efforts and execution sometimes save terrible play calls.... the call is into the teeth of the D and guys make it work anyway. If well executed this would have been a test of our guys being more physical than their guys. Unfortunately, we will never know how that might have worked out.
I think what Heupel said was that Hooker didn't have an audible option before the play. I would assume he had the option to keep the ball at the handoff. Not sure though.
 

volinthenorth

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I think we are discussing the same person, then.

I watched a clip of the play posted here. I advanced it frame by frame. It was not full screen so I may not have the best eyes on it. But to me it looked like 36 played well disciplined. He contained until the ball was handed to our RB. The frame where our RB is just past our QB is the frame where 36 cuts toward the ball carrier. Did you see it differently?
I know we are looking at it in slo mo but it's happening fast for the players. That said, it looked to me like Hooker could have seen 36 make an inside step to attack the runner, so if the QB had kept the ball, he could have circled around 36 for the yard needed for the first down. That's how I saw it, but again, I know it was a split second decision for the players.
 

McDad

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I know we are looking at it in slo mo but it's happening fast for the players. That said, it looked to me like Hooker could have seen 36 make an inside step to attack the runner, so if the QB had kept the ball, he could have circled around 36 for the yard needed for the first down. That's how I saw it, but again, I know it was a split second decision for the players.
It's a minor quibble. I think odds are on Hooker's athleticism to win even if 36 played containment. It's just he and Hooker in open field and 36 is starting from stand still.
 

volinthenorth

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It's a minor quibble. I think odds are on Hooker's athleticism to win even if 36 played containment. It's just he and Hooker in open field and 36 is starting from stand still.
I'd agree with that, Hooker could beat him. And 36 would have to pause to figure out which player has the ball, and that's probably all Hooker needs to get around him.
 
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GulfCoasterVol

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The fourth down call was horrible.. Snap the ball five yards deep then slowly had the ball off to 175 pound running back up the middle. Why do our coaches do this ?. What is the success rate for a quarterback sneak with six inches to make. Heupel must have got trained under the Butch Jones school of quarterback play... A touchdown ties the game !!!!!!!
I agree with under center and QB sneak.... But.... it probably would not have mattered if Hooker's whole body goes in the end zone with a sneak.. the referee would have blown the call...
 

JRich

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Hindsight is 20/20.

It didn't work - bad call.
First down or TD - great call.

Personally, I see #36 making the tackle in the backfield if Hooker keeps it, or worse a fumble if he tries to pull it too late. The play just wasn't blocked very well at all, and I can just go back to a previous comment I made that the UT running game has no scheme, identity, or purpose to it. At least not through these two games. Very reminiscent of the Butch Jones coached team except without the playmakers. The run blocking is identical to the pass blocking.
 

Alto1

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The fourth down call was horrible.. Snap the ball five yards deep then slowly had the ball off to 175 pound running back up the middle. Why do our coaches do this ?. What is the success rate for a quarterback sneak with six inches to make. Heupel must have got trained under the Butch Jones school of quarterback play... A touchdown ties the game !!!!!!!
Disappointing play call is an extreme understatement!!! It was a SMDH moment…..
 

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