Game Coaching: Strange Decision in the 4th quarter?

LuCane

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Situation: Miami is down 20-7. Any points by FSU makes it a very low percentage 2 possession game (down by 16 at best).

Have you guys talked about how the coaches declined a 10-yard holding call (at the LOS) on a 1 yard gain to the Miami 34? The holding call would have placed FSU at 2nd and 19ish from about the 43 or 44 yard line (out of field goal range), but instead we played for a single stop on 3rd and 7.

Mike Williams actually made a nice play in the middle of the field. He was called for a controversial pass interference. But, that's really not the topic of convo here.

It was a strange, zero confidence-type of decision by the coaching staff. As I said at the time, I believe it was a panicked decision. It's the type of decision that separates superior game coaches from the mediocre.

At some point, Al Golden is going to have to show us that he's more than a Public Relations phenom and a great planner/organizer. Can we win without the necessary game coaching? Sure. But, it will take a collection of superior talent.

I look forward to more of these instances so we can judge not only our team, but the "on the spot thinking" of our coaching leaders.
 

Miami82

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Yeah Golden discussed this. He was thinking with the time left in the game it was more important to save a down and he had confidence that the D could get a stop. IMO that was a bad call by the ref or we wouldn't be discussing this. Golden also said he thought it was 3rd and 8 and he was playing the odds, at least I think that was his point.
 

umhurricane2511

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Had no problem with that call. I probably would have taken the penalty, but I wasn't very upset.

I mean how many times this year have we given up long conversions given the opportunity? I kind of agree (now that I think about it more) that it was more of a risk to make the D have 2 stops instead of just 1.
 

Chuckles

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Interesting. I'm thinking the decision was made in favor of taking the down because of a lack of confidence on the defense? Panicked sounds about right. I'd like to hear their justification.
 

LuCane

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Yeah Golden discussed this. He was thinking with the time left in the game it was more important to save a down and he had confidence that the D could get a stop. IMO that was a bad call by the ref or we wouldn't be discussing this. Golden also said he thought it was 3rd and 8 and he was playing the odds, at least I think that was his point.
I think it was an awful decision.

The best reasoning is that they didn't have confidence in the D and hoped for "one" stop to get out of there. The response to that is simple: 3rd and 7 from the 34 is what most college coaches call "no man's land." It means you can realistically look at 2 plays to get a first down instead of being forced to kick a 50+ yard FG. Even if you stop them on an incomplete pass (the best possible outcome), FSU can still (1) Kick a FG if they have confidence in their kicker or (2) go for it if they feel their kicker can't hit a 50 yarder.

As the 2nd best outcome, FSU could have completed a play for, say, 3-4 yards. This would have still brought up 4th down, but brings the kick closer and/or the opportunity to go for it on 4th has a greater chance to be converted.

The worst outcomes are that they convert (as they did, through penalty) or they decide to use 2 plays in No Man's land to go for it (as they still could have). This negates the "1 play vs. 2 play" for conversion reasoning.

This occurred at the 13 minute mark in the game at that time. I don't buy that Golden was so concerned with the time considering it was still 20-7 (higher percentage 2 possession game, where you're winning with 2 TDs). When it was 23-7 (a low percentage 2 possession game), he had his offense huddling and the playcalls coming in late.

This is about the 3rd or 4th "Butch" decision he's made this year. You can be as articulate and prepared as you want, but sooner or later you have to make good decisions on the fly. Some decisions could go either way. I think this was a VERY poor decision. I would like to see him make some good in-game strategic calls.
 

Canesbball

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Honestly, had it not been for a horrendous PI call, we're probably not even discussing this right now because Mike made a great play there and we would've had more time left on the clock.
 

hcanes100

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I think he probably didn't say what he wanted to say. If they can't stop them on third down the first time, why give them another shot. I think he was basically making that the standing point in the game, either we stop them here or not at all and the game is over (although it turned out a bit different, that is what I was thinking he was doing). I am indifferent on the decision.
 

Mico Jones

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Yeah Golden discussed this. He was thinking with the time left in the game it was more important to save a down and he had confidence that the D could get a stop. IMO that was a bad call by the ref or we wouldn't be discussing this. Golden also said he thought it was 3rd and 8 and he was playing the odds, at least I think that was his point.
I think it was an awful decision.

The best reasoning is that they didn't have confidence in the D and hoped for "one" stop to get out of there. The response to that is simple: 3rd and 7 from the 34 is what most college coaches call "no man's land." It means you can realistically look at 2 plays to get a first down instead of being forced to kick a 50+ yard FG. Even if you stop them on an incomplete pass (the best possible outcome), FSU can still (1) Kick a FG if they have confidence in their kicker or (2) go for it if they feel their kicker can't hit a 50 yarder.

As the 2nd best outcome, FSU could have completed a play for, say, 3-4 yards. This would have still brought up 4th down, but brings the kick closer and/or the opportunity to go for it on 4th has a greater chance to be converted.

The worst outcomes are that they convert (as they did, through penalty) or they decide to use 2 plays in No Man's land to go for it (as they still could have). This negates the "1 play vs. 2 play" for conversion reasoning.

This occurred at the 13 minute mark in the game at that time. I don't buy that Golden was so concerned with the time considering it was still 20-7 (higher percentage 2 possession game, where you're winning with 2 TDs). When it was 23-7 (a low percentage 2 possession game), he had his offense huddling and the playcalls coming in late.

This is about the 3rd or 4th "Butch" decision he's made this year. You can be as articulate and prepared as you want, but sooner or later you have to make good decisions on the fly. Some decisions could go either way. I think this was a VERY poor decision. I would like to see him make some good in-game strategic calls.

Agree. I though it was dumb at the time.
 

CanesAreAble

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Had a convo with 2003alum and a couple others about this.

It was questionable, but I didn't have a huge problem with.

A long FG, even with a good kicker like Hopkins, is not automatic. Get a stop on 3rd, and concede a long FG attempt. And with our defense, I certainly understand only wanting to give them one bite at the apple to pick up the first.

But in a more general sense, I'm not overly concerned with these types of decisions because I've routinely seen great coaches at both levels bungle these situations. I think coaches get them "right" about half the time. And half the time when they're wrong, they get away with it.
 
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I want to know why we were taking our time down 2 scores with 8 minutes left, not in the hurry up and letting the game clock run down.

In the last 11 minutes, FSU got 1 first down and we only got 2 possessions. Thats bad.
 

LuCane

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Honestly, had it not been for a horrendous PI call, we're probably not even discussing this right now because Mike made a great play there and we would've had more time left on the clock.
I'd be discussing it. I'm not worried about Ws and Ls for this year. I'm worried about things I see that can carry over to important situations in the future. I think it was a horrendously thought-out decision. It's a decision that comes up a lot in that area of the field. We've run "two plays" to convert in that area of the field a number of times. Next time you see us in "no man's land," you'll see that the chances of a "surprise run call" on a 3rd and 8 or so increase.

Even if it's an incomplete pass, FSU can still conceivably kick a FG (their kicker has a long of 53 THIS year) or they can use another play to go for it.

Poor reasoning by the decision-maker.
 

LuCane

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Had a convo with 2003alum and a couple others about this.

It was questionable, but I didn't have a huge problem with.

A long FG, even with a good kicker like Hopkins, is not automatic. Get a stop on 3rd, and concede a long FG attempt. And with our defense, I certainly understand only wanting to give them one bite at the apple to pick up the first.

But in a more general sense, I'm not overly concerned with these types of decisions because I've routinely seen great coaches at both levels bungle these situations. I think coaches get them "right" about half the time. And half the time when they're wrong, they get away with it.
You're not considering all the alternatives. Read all my posts in this thread. Given all the facts (game situation and time on the clock, FSU kicker's ability, FSU's ability to run two plays out of the Shotgun), I don't think this is one of those 50/50 calls. I think it's an automatic that you move an offense out of "no man's land."
 

Miami82

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Yeah Golden discussed this. He was thinking with the time left in the game it was more important to save a down and he had confidence that the D could get a stop. IMO that was a bad call by the ref or we wouldn't be discussing this. Golden also said he thought it was 3rd and 8 and he was playing the odds, at least I think that was his point.
I think it was an awful decision.

The best reasoning is that they didn't have confidence in the D and hoped for "one" stop to get out of there. The response to that is simple: 3rd and 7 from the 34 is what most college coaches call "no man's land." It means you can realistically look at 2 plays to get a first down instead of being forced to kick a 50+ yard FG. Even if you stop them on an incomplete pass (the best possible outcome), FSU can still (1) Kick a FG if they have confidence in their kicker or (2) go for it if they feel their kicker can't hit a 50 yarder.

As the 2nd best outcome, FSU could have completed a play for, say, 3-4 yards. This would have still brought up 4th down, but brings the kick closer and/or the opportunity to go for it on 4th has a greater chance to be converted.

The worst outcomes are that they convert (as they did, through penalty) or they decide to use 2 plays in No Man's land to go for it (as they still could have). This negates the "1 play vs. 2 play" for conversion reasoning.

This occurred at the 13 minute mark in the game at that time. I don't buy that Golden was so concerned with the time considering it was still 20-7 (higher percentage 2 possession game, where you're winning with 2 TDs). When it was 23-7 (a low percentage 2 possession game), he had his offense huddling and the playcalls coming in late.

This is about the 3rd or 4th "Butch" decision he's made this year. You can be as articulate and prepared as you want, but sooner or later you have to make good decisions on the fly. Some decisions could go either way. I think this was a VERY poor decision. I would like to see him make some good in-game strategic calls.
Nice post Lu. I'd like to see Golden's reply to this.
 

hcanes100

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I really thought we should have kicked the field goal earlier on the last drive, and then do the onside kick with much more time on the clock. I thought it would have given us a chance with more time on the clock on D if we didn't recover the onside kick to give us a better chance at winning. I know that is nit picking, but I think it could have given us another 1:30 on the clock when we kicked the onside kick and they won't have been able to kneel it dead like they did with 1:15+. I said this in the game thread, but don't think anyone noticed it.
 

CanesAreAble

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Had a convo with 2003alum and a couple others about this.

It was questionable, but I didn't have a huge problem with.

A long FG, even with a good kicker like Hopkins, is not automatic. Get a stop on 3rd, and concede a long FG attempt. And with our defense, I certainly understand only wanting to give them one bite at the apple to pick up the first.

But in a more general sense, I'm not overly concerned with these types of decisions because I've routinely seen great coaches at both levels bungle these situations. I think coaches get them "right" about half the time. And half the time when they're wrong, they get away with it.
You're not considering all the alternatives. Read all my posts in this thread. Given all the facts (game situation and time on the clock, FSU kicker's ability, FSU's ability to run two plays out of the Shotgun), I don't think this is one of those 50/50 calls. I think it's an automatic that you move an offense out of "no man's land."

I disagree about the "No Man's Land" because Hopkins has a big leg, and I think Fisher was more concerned about getting that 16-point edge.


I think the decision came down to this: the chances of them converting with 2 downs versus the chances of them convert with 1 down. It was dubious because I don't think FG range factored into the decision (he didn't address that aspect of it in the presser).
 

umhurricane2511

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Had a convo with 2003alum and a couple others about this.

It was questionable, but I didn't have a huge problem with.

A long FG, even with a good kicker like Hopkins, is not automatic. Get a stop on 3rd, and concede a long FG attempt. And with our defense, I certainly understand only wanting to give them one bite at the apple to pick up the first.

But in a more general sense, I'm not overly concerned with these types of decisions because I've routinely seen great coaches at both levels bungle these situations. I think coaches get them "right" about half the time. And half the time when they're wrong, they get away with it.


This. Fans have all the time in the world to think about these things.

Coaches have about 3 seconds and EVERYBODY guesses wrong sometimes (not saying he was necessarily "wrong" on this one)
 

umhurricane2511

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Also, this goes to show how everything is magnified after a loss.

We tackle Greg Reid/dont turn the ball over 3 times, and we're not having this conversation.
 

CanesAreAble

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I really thought we should have kicked the field goal earlier on the last drive, and then do the onside kick with much more time on the clock. I thought it would have given us a chance with more time on the clock on D if we didn't recover the onside kick to give us a better chance at winning. I know that is nit picking, but I think it could have given us another 1:30 on the clock when we kicked the onside kick and they won't have been able to kneel it dead like they did with 1:15+. I said this in the game thread, but don't think anyone noticed it.

I disagree with this. The TD is harder to get. When you're down in there inside the 20, you have to go for that TD. Give yourself 90 seconds to get the FG on the next possession. If we made the extra point, we would've had plenty of time to drive the field and kick a FG. Plus, the TD extends the game. If you miss the FG, you're done.
 

BigCaneAl

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I sort of agree with Lu. At the time I was thinking they should push them back, but I see both sides. They were throwing the ball pretty well at that point. I would have taken the penalty, but I don't think it was Butch level bad to decline it. I really think Golden was thinking "let's hold them too FG" and stay in the game...he was more scared of the TD and it being over.
 

LuCane

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Had a convo with 2003alum and a couple others about this.

It was questionable, but I didn't have a huge problem with.

A long FG, even with a good kicker like Hopkins, is not automatic. Get a stop on 3rd, and concede a long FG attempt. And with our defense, I certainly understand only wanting to give them one bite at the apple to pick up the first.

But in a more general sense, I'm not overly concerned with these types of decisions because I've routinely seen great coaches at both levels bungle these situations. I think coaches get them "right" about half the time. And half the time when they're wrong, they get away with it.


This. Fans have all the time in the world to think about these things.

Coaches have about 3 seconds and EVERYBODY guesses wrong sometimes (not saying he was necessarily "wrong" on this one)
Fans have all the time to think about these things? I said it on the spot. Anyone who hasn't seen that scenario pop up in football either doesn't watch enough football or doesn't watch it with strategy in mind. This is NOT a freakishly unique scenario. On the flipside, check out how we've handled this situation on offense. In this very year under this very staff, we've not only run two plays, but we've run the ball on 3rd down.

I do not believe this is a 50/50 call. I can live with one of those. He has made plenty of those and I've never brought them up. This was a poorly reasoned decision. It was a panicked decision from a guy who prepares everything in a giant binder, but forgot to prepare this scenario. It was a decision he can try to seduce fans into thinking was made with strong rationale, but his abilities to speak and articulate things so magnificently fail to address the substance here.

This is a fail. Does it mean he can't be a good coach? No. Does it mean we can't win with him? Obviously not.

But, Golden likes to call things out "as is" in the media as it relates to his players. He should sit down and think about all of the alternatives of this situation and how he made a poor decision. Point blank.
 
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