Sunday, September 30, 2012

On a lighter Note - Sports related Thoughts

"...eventually faced fourth-and-4 at the Huskies' 34 with 2 minutes left. With the defense spread out, Nunes tried to throw a fade route down the sideline to 6-foot-8 tight end Levine Toilolo. But the ball was poorly thrown, and Desmond Trufant was in position to intercept the pass at the 8 with 1:46 left"

When I heard the tv commentary on this play, I laughed!   Desmond Trufant was repeatedly complimented and the announcer stated that his play was "the play of the game" saving the upset win of The University of Washington Huskies over Stanford.

Let's look at the play from what I see as a more "objective" view.   Washington took over possession at their 8 yard line and was fortunate enough to get a first down, allowing it to "kill the clock" and win the game.    If Washington had not gotten the first down, it would have had to punt from somewhere proximate to its own 8 yard line and given Stanford an (admittedly uphill) opportunity of winning the game with a touchdown in the remaining seconds of the game.

If, instead of intercepting the pass, Trufant had "perceptively knocked the ball down" Washington would have taken possession at its own 34 yard line, rather than its 8 yard line, 24 yards further up field.   While the results could have been the same, there would have been 24 more yards necessary for Stanford to score, a significant difference.

I don't strongly "condemn" Trufant for his actions, as in the "heat of play" one can make a poor decision.   I do, however, find it wrong that the announcers Never mentioned what "should have happened".   I would note, also, that in playing for the interception and then intercepting the ball Trufant risked both the receiver then catching the pass (through Trufant failing to intercept the pass) as well as the possibility that he could have fumbled the pass after intercepting it, both of which would have been a disaster for Washington.    Pounding the ball out-of-bounds and to the ground with force would have been a much safer play for Trufant to have made.

Often times coaches of athletes Should tell their players what they should do in the event that they need to make a "good" decision.   It's unclear if that would have been possible here.

I remember in the 1980's watching a championship little league game which was tied in its last inning.  The based were loaded and there was one out.   The batter hit the ball directly on the ground to the pitcher.   He fielded it calmly and threw the ball to first base as the winning run scored from third to home base.   The coach of this team should have told all his players: "You've got to throw the ball to home to get the out" before this play happened, but said nothing.

I remember watching DePaul University lose the NCAA semi-final game in early 1979 to Indiana State University (with star Larry Bird).    Trailing and needing a basket to win the game, DePaul came out of a timeout with the ball and a play.   With about 10 seconds left DePaul's star, Mark Aguirre, took a totally off balance long shot which missed, losing the opportunity for the win.   I don't know what Aguirre had been told during their last timeout, however he should have been told to try to set up his shot, AND if it didn't work out, with about 8-10 seconds left, to call their final timeout.

Oft times late in football games, players are complimented for "making a great catch" of a pass.   This praise is valid, when the  pass gains significant yardage for a team trailing and trying to get that score to win the game.   It is totally ridiculous however to compliment such a play where the receiver makes a diving catch for a 3 yard gain taking up valuable time for minimal gain.

Just - my pet peeves in sports!   Smile!

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