Lately, Bill has been dazzling us with explanations for his rationale behind certain moves in games, like "The Punt" (as it will now be called) at USF to the fourth and eight at Cincinnati. It's the quote that explains the play before that play, third and nine from the Cincinnati 25 yard line, that is the most curious.
Now remember, it was Jock Sanders that run up the middle for a gain of one on that play, setting up the fateful fourth and eight try. Here is Bill's explanation:
"That was a power play that we had been gashing for 6, 8, 12, 10 (yards)," Coach Bill Stewart said. "They slanted and blitzed and Jock got caught off the backside. It was one of those 'gotchas.'"
That's an extremely interesting take on the situation, one that is not totally incorrect, but one that is certainly not 100% truthful.
We had absolutely been gashing them up the middle with that play, but with Ryan Clarke doing the running. Unfortunately, it was Jock Sanders who carried that ball. Jock, for the night, ran for 14 yards on seven carries. His longest carry went for seven yards. So when Bill says that we had been been gashing them up the middle, it wasn't Jock that was doing that gashing. On that drive alone, Jock carried five times, with gains of six, one, one, zero, and negative one. Ouch.
I'm not even saying it was a terrible play call, but taking more issue with the explanations that go along with failed plays. Somehow, there's always an explanation, even when that explanation doesn't make much sense, if any at all. The numbers prove that Jock had not been gashing the defense, if not doing the complete opposite of that.
So if the play had worked, just not with Jock, why design the play for Jock?
"They didn't look like they wanted to hit old Clarke," Stewart said.
...and on one of the most important plays in the game, we didn't give them a chance.
Note: I know Mike Casazza goes into some detail about all of this, but I wish someone would truly follow-up with a biting question on a subject that deserves a better explanation.