Bad Coaching Watch

Ugh. Okie State had a chance to beat Oklahoma tonight and blew it with some bad decisions. First, they scored to draw within two points. Then, with under four minutes left and their defense on fumes, in a situation where Oklahoma only needed a few first downs, they kick deep instead of using an onside kick. Why?

They then played such shitty coverage on 3rd and long — with no deep coverage — that they gave up an 86 yard touchdown pass. Why was there no deep coverage on 3rd and 14? Who knows.

A kickoff return TD puts them back in it with 2:51 to play. Again, the kick booms deep in a situation where Oklahoma needs only a few first downs to ice the game. Why not onside kick here? If Oklahoma gets it, you’re no worse off. You still need to make a stop to get a chance. To my mind, an onside kick gives you two shots to get a potential game-winning drive: one with the onside kick and one with the defense. Whether you stop Oklahoma at the 20 or the 50 really doesn’t matter. Field position is not the important factor here — time is.

Then there’s another coverage breakdown and no deep man and Oklahoma gets a 77-yard touchdown. Because, apparently, it never occurred to Okie State that Oklahoma might play fake their exhausted defense in an obvious clock-grinding situation.

This is followed by a slow drive that gobbles up two minutes and gets a field goal. Now, with no choice, Gundy decides to try an onside kick. Which fails, of course, since Oklahoma knows its coming.

I don’t mean to pick on Gundy with regard to the onside kicks since most coaches would do the same thing. TMQ always goes on about how coaches eschew the onside kick until it makes no difference. This is to avoid criticism for “unconventional” decisions. And indeed, even the announcers didn’t criticize the decision.

But the refusal of teams to onside kick until the very last minute hurts their chances of winning. You will rarely see a better illustration of this than tonight’s game, which Okie State could have won with a bit more boldness.