What happened on Georgia Tech’s failed fake punt

awbuzz

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Run it as designed, darn good chance of a First Down...

From the AJC
What happened on Georgia Tech’s failed fake punt
Sept 15, 2018
PITTSBURGH —

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson isn’t averse to risks, and Saturday he paid the price on a hefty gamble.

Down 7-0 in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets went with a fake punt on a fourth-and-7 from their own 28-yard line. However, Zach Roberts’ snap to upback Antwan Owens resulted in a two-yard loss and gave the Panthers the ball on Tech’s 26-yard line. The change on downs put Pitt in position to get into the end zone for a 14-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. It was a cushion that proved critical in Tech’s 24-19 loss Saturday at Heinz Field.

Johnson explained that the assistant coach in charge of the punt team advised him that the play would work, but Johnson accepted accountability. On a day when both teams were trying to improve poor special-teams play in their previous games, the Jackets were the ones to make another error in the kicking game.

“That was a bad call,” Johnson said. “I’ll eat that one. That was on me.”

On the play, Roberts snapped to Owens, lined up as a punt protector with Brant Mitchell and Desmond Branch at the 21-yard line, seven yard behind the line of scrimmage. Owens, lined up on the left of Branch and Mitchell, took the snap and ran right. Branch took on a Pitt player charging right up the middle.



Georgia Tech defensive end Antwan Owens (at the 21-yard line) runs with the ball on a fake punt. The design of the fake was apparently to follow linebacker Brant Mitchell (center of the field at the 22-yard line) to the perimeter. (Screen grab of the broadcast by Fox Sports South.)



Owens runs behind Avery Showell's block, which leads him to Pitt's Jim Medure, who was being blocked to the middle of the field by Ajani Kerr. (Screen grab from Fox Sports South broadcast)


Mitchell ran right to the edge of the formation as a lead blocker for Owens. On the right edge, Ajani Kerr blocked Pitt’s Jim Medure and even managed to turn him back to the inside of the play. It appeared that, had Owens followed Mitchell around Kerr’s block, he would have had enough open space in front of him to reach the 35-yard line for a first down and give the Jackets a momentum boost.

However, Owens, while a tight end in high school, is a 265-pound defensive end and not accustomed to running with the ball, particularly in a high-pressure situation. For whatever reason, he did not follow the design of the play around Kerr and behind Mitchell. Instead, perhaps seeing a gap in the line, Owens ran the ball up the middle, and right into Medure, who, having been sealed off by Kerr from reaching the perimeter, was now in position to get off Kerr’s block to make the tackle.

After the game, Johnson said that “I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been easy” for Owens to pick up the first down had he run to the outside, “but that was a bad call. That’s on me.”
 
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jacobchbe

Jolly Good Fellow
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277
STOP MAKING A DEFENSIVE LINEMAN THE ONE THAT HAS TO GET THE FIRST DOWN!!!!!!

OK, i don't feel any better, but at least I got to yell it again since the 2009 Peach Bowl. Next time, put a B back or Bruce Swilling there.
My 92 year old grandpa could’ve gotten that first down if he had followed mitchel.
 

iceeater1969

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My 92 year old grandpa could’ve gotten that first down if he had followed mitchel.
The safety is shadowing Brent to the corner and we need to get to about 40.
Grandpa laid to rest at 30.

Sloppy planning and preparation like this is embarrassing.
 

eetech

Jolly Good Fellow
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114
This decision was extremely poor.

#1 the definition of “the play would have worked” here is getting a first down. We wouldn’t have a gotten tremendous amount of yardage, or a TD. Even if the play worked, you still needed to go 60+ yards for a TD or 35+ yards for an attempt at a FG.

On the flip side, if the play doesn’t work, they are starting in FG position, with <30 yards for a TD.

At 7-0 down those odds just don’t seem to make sense.
 

lv20gt

Helluva Engineer
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This decision was extremely poor.

#1 the definition of “the play would have worked” here is getting a first down. We wouldn’t have a gotten tremendous amount of yardage, or a TD. Even if the play worked, you still needed to go 60+ yards for a TD or 35+ yards for an attempt at a FG.

On the flip side, if the play doesn’t work, they are starting in FG position, with <30 yards for a TD.

At 7-0 down those odds just don’t seem to make sense.

This. The play was stupid because it wouldn't have accomplished much even if it had worked.
 

rhino gold

Georgia Tech Fan
Messages
18
Run it as designed, darn good chance of a First Down...

From the AJC
What happened on Georgia Tech’s failed fake punt
Sept 15, 2018
PITTSBURGH —

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson isn’t averse to risks, and Saturday he paid the price on a hefty gamble.

Down 7-0 in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets went with a fake punt on a fourth-and-7 from their own 28-yard line. However, Zach Roberts’ snap to upback Antwan Owens resulted in a two-yard loss and gave the Panthers the ball on Tech’s 26-yard line. The change on downs put Pitt in position to get into the end zone for a 14-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. It was a cushion that proved critical in Tech’s 24-19 loss Saturday at Heinz Field.

Johnson explained that the assistant coach in charge of the punt team advised him that the play would work, but Johnson accepted accountability. On a day when both teams were trying to improve poor special-teams play in their previous games, the Jackets were the ones to make another error in the kicking game.

“That was a bad call,” Johnson said. “I’ll eat that one. That was on me.”

On the play, Roberts snapped to Owens, lined up as a punt protector with Brant Mitchell and Desmond Branch at the 21-yard line, seven yard behind the line of scrimmage. Owens, lined up on the left of Branch and Mitchell, took the snap and ran right. Branch took on a Pitt player charging right up the middle.



Georgia Tech defensive end Antwan Owens (at the 21-yard line) runs with the ball on a fake punt. The design of the fake was apparently to follow linebacker Brant Mitchell (center of the field at the 22-yard line) to the perimeter. (Screen grab of the broadcast by Fox Sports South.)



Owens runs behind Avery Showell's block, which leads him to Pitt's Jim Medure, who was being blocked to the middle of the field by Ajani Kerr. (Screen grab from Fox Sports South broadcast)


Mitchell ran right to the edge of the formation as a lead blocker for Owens. On the right edge, Ajani Kerr blocked Pitt’s Jim Medure and even managed to turn him back to the inside of the play. It appeared that, had Owens followed Mitchell around Kerr’s block, he would have had enough open space in front of him to reach the 35-yard line for a first down and give the Jackets a momentum boost.

However, Owens, while a tight end in high school, is a 265-pound defensive end and not accustomed to runn!!!!ing with the ball, particularly in a high-pressure situation. For whatever reason, he did not follow the design of the play around Kerr and behind Mitchell. Instead, perhaps seeing a gap in the line, Owens ran the ball up the middle, and right into Medure, who, having been sealed off by Kerr from reaching the perimeter, was now in position to get off Kerr’s block to make the tackle.

After the game, Johnson said that “I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been easy” for Owens to pick up the first down had he run to the outside, “but that was a bad call. That’s on me.”


That's not the whole quote from CPJ postgame presser. CPJ threw a player and an assistance coach under the bus for this bad call by him. But, given all the current options, I'm all for CPJ and the Jackets!! Give them time!! The orange of Clemson is coming.
GO JACKETS!!
 

awbuzz

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That's not the whole quote from CPJ postgame presser. CPJ threw a player and an assistance coach under the bus for this bad call by him. But, given all the current options, I'm all for CPJ and the Jackets!! Give them time!! The orange of Clemson is coming.
GO JACKETS!!
He simply explained why he made the call. He also took ownership.
"Johnson explained that the assistant coach in charge of the punt team advised him that the play would work, but Johnson accepted accountability."
 

Vespid

Jolly Good Fellow
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That's not the whole quote from CPJ postgame presser. CPJ threw a player and an assistance coach under the bus for this bad call by him. But, given all the current options, I'm all for CPJ and the Jackets!! Give them time!! The orange of Clemson is coming.
GO JACKETS!!

So the truth is throwing somebody under the bus? How did he throw the assistant under the bus? I assume the assistant was Owens since he is ST coordinator, said he thought it would work, I assume based on Pitt's alignment. Guess what, he was absolutely right. If our guy follows his block outside like he was supposed to, first down unless he slips and falls. And I'm not throwing him (Owens the player) under the bus either, players make mistakes, it happens. Pitt was squeezing hard for the block because of field position, it really was IMHO a perfect time to do it. You don't fake a punt or kick when they expect it, hence the term FAKE. If we execute it properly, first down and then some. This one play did not cost us the game anyway. We had ample opportunity to win this game with several great calls and we failed to execute for whatever reason.
 

eetech

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114
So the truth is throwing somebody under the bus? How did he throw the assistant under the bus? I assume the assistant was Owens since he is ST coordinator, said he thought it would work, I assume based on Pitt's alignment. Guess what, he was absolutely right. If our guy follows his block outside like he was supposed to, first down unless he slips and falls. And I'm not throwing him (Owens the player) under the bus either, players make mistakes, it happens. Pitt was squeezing hard for the block because of field position, it really was IMHO a perfect time to do it. You don't fake a punt or kick when they expect it, hence the term FAKE. If we execute it properly, first down and then some. This one play did not cost us the game anyway. We had ample opportunity to win this game with several great calls and we failed to execute for whatever reason.

It’s still a bad call. Even assuming a fake at this point makes sense, because of the surprise factor, a much better call would have been a play which had a high chance of getting the first down, but also had a significant chance of getting a huge chunk of yards or even a TD. The possibility of assuring points using the surprise factor by getting into field goal range with the fake may have been worth it. Instead, this play had the ball being carried by a defenseive player who was clearly not a great runner and would likely get about 10 yards in the best case scenario.

The only way it is redeeming is if CPJ wants our opponents to be constantly worried about a fake punt in random situations for the rest of the season, and is hoping that will result in poorer punt returns by our opponents. But I’m not sure it will make all that much of a difference.
 

bwelbo

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It wasn't just a 4th down on our own 28, it was a 4th and long. The gap WAS there, but if you look at the last picture above, there is a guy coming to help, and a second who was defeating a block. That would have been 2 defenders ready to meet him in that big gap...around about the 30 yard line. He still would have needed to make another 5 yards.

There were multiple reasons this was a dumb call.

We already had gotten 2 horrible late hit calls that served to put our defense back on their heels a bit. Yet we were only down 7-0. There was no reason to take a chance on making it any worse.
 

katlong

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Kennesaw, GA
STOP MAKING A DEFENSIVE LINEMAN THE ONE THAT HAS TO GET THE FIRST DOWN!!!!!!

OK, i don't feel any better, but at least I got to yell it again since the 2009 Peach Bowl. Next time, put a B back or Bruce Swilling there.

I wish I could hit like 18,000 times on this one! I feel badly for Owens...what a bad situation to put him in. Juanyeh would have been my choice, but surely there are 30 other guys used to running the ball we could have chosen if we wanted to run this play. On to Clemson....!
 
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