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Wednesday, January 04, 2006


This is the first of an occasional award presented to a coach who does something so bold, so imaginative in a game, it makes maize and blue fans stare in envy at the TV as they utter, "Damn, Lloyd would never do that!"

M ZONE SET OF STONES WINNER: West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriguez

WHY: A heavy underdog, Rodriguez's WVU squad had jumped out to a 28 nothing lead over favorite UGA in the Sugar Bowl. But, the Dawgs clawed their way back to trail only 38-35 late in the game. With 1:45 left, WVU found themselves with 4th and about 6 near midfield, clinging to a 3 point lead. The Mountaineers lined up to punt the ball and pin the Georgia deep so that they'd have to drive the length of the field. As we Michigan fans have come to know, this is called the "right play." But...

Instead, Rodriguez called for a fake punt, picked up the first down with the bold play and ran out the clock to win the game. As I sat watching, I could only think (say it with me), "Damn, Lloyd would never do that!"

WHAT MICHIGAN WOULD HAVE DONE: First of all, the game was similar to a Michigan game in that WVU blew at 28 point lead. However, with the game on the line in the same situation and up by 3, Michigan would have brought out kicker Geraldo Rivas to "fake" the FG (even though nobody on earth thought they were really going to try a FG) for the pooch punt in order to give UGA ample time to drive the field to create yet another "Instant Classic" for ESPN.

Well done, Rich. That took a HUGE Set of Stones. And thanks...now I finally have a reason to use this picture of the squirrel that I've been dying to put up.


Benny Friedman said...

I had the exact thought when watching last night. Not only did I think that we'd never do that, but we'd likely get burned by such a great move.
Lloyd should have employed this play in every close game. First, with our defense, there was no question Georgia would have driven the length of the field to win on a DJ Shockley draw with no time left. Second, with our O-line, having Ross Ryan run for a first down would have been our best running play available.
You say that since WV almost blew their 28-0 lead it was much like a Michigan game. What you fail to remember is that Michigan never comes out ready from the opening kickoff to get a quick 28-0 lead. Hell, the defense couldn't even hold Indiana on their opening drive. So while Michigan's the master at blowing the 10, 11, and 12 point lead, don't get carried away. They weren't good enough to get a 28 point lead to blow.

Yost said...

Damn, you're right. My bad, Benny.

The King said...

It was better when Urban Meyer did it earlier in the day. Florida was up on Iowa by 10 I think, but Iowa blew up Leak on a 3rd down draw and had all the momentum with a few minutes left in the fourth. Furthermore, Florida was deep IN THEIR OWN TERRITORY when Meyer called the fake.

It worked, they ate more time, Iowa eventually scored a FG, and then never got a chance to tie because of horrible officiating. But had meyer not called that fake punt, they probably would have had the time they needed to score twice without going for the onside.