Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
Everyone think back to this play three years ago: 4th and 2, 6:00 left, UCLA down 40-28 to Cal on their own 42. Out comes the punt team. Boos are raining down on Dorrell, and what does he do? Fakes the punt.
This was maybe the only time I truly saw and appreciated Dorrell taking a chance and mixing it up a little. As we all know, Jarrad Page ran the fake punt for 38 yards and we came back to beat Cal 47-40. After the game, Bruin fans everywhere were complimenting KD for the gutsy fake punt call.
Well here's a scenario. What if it hadn't worked? What if Page had been stuffed at the line for no gain? The fans would've been irate, asking KD why he didn't just line up and do some sort of PA bootleg that had worked for us all season long. With guys like Olson, MJD, and Lewis, why not just flat out go for it?
The answer to this is because sometimes a coach HAS to mix it up. Cal was clearly not expecting the fake punt, and were clearly not expecting a coach like KD to pull it out.
So where does this all fit in with last night? It's simple: we cannot blame Neuheisel for risking a mid-game onside kick.
Think about what happens if it works. Best case, we go 60 yards again and tie it up, taking ALL of the momentum and life out of raucous Autzen Stadium. Worst case (besides a Craft INT), we go 3 and out and Perez pins them back at their 20 - just where they would've been with a deep kick.
But of course, that didn't happen. The ball took a strange sideways bounce that only a football could take, and bounced straight out of bounds. So now Oregon has the ball on our 40 yard line. Out come the boo birds to blame Neuheisel, calling him an idiot and asking why he would take that risk when he didn't have to. So here's my question for everyone that says that: You want Karl Dorrell back? Because there is NO way KD calls for that onside kick. He would've kicked it deep, and seeing how Oregon's offense went 40 yards with zero effort seems to me they probably could've gotten 40 additional ones of top of it. Clearly, we'll never know what would've happened if we had kicked it deep. But when a less talented team is in the game with a more talented team, it's up to the coaches to CREATE situations that favor us. And thats what CRN tried to do.
The point of all this is that being aggressive comes with risk. For all of you that complained about KD and are now complaining about CRN - hate to break it to you, but you have to have one or the other. Either the tightly zipped Dorrell, or the wide open Neuheisel. Criticizing aggression after 5 years of criticizing conservative calls doesn't work. If we want an aggressive team and HC (which we ALL did a few months ago), we have to accept that there will be times when a play goes wrong. Just like going for it on 4th and 1 instead of punting it, just like accepting a holding penalty on 3rd and 12, CRN is showing that he has faith in his team and is willing to take a risk. And no matter the result, I'd take that over a coach that called plays even a 6 year old could've predicted.