“There’s no reason for that. Every coach all the way down to Little League knows that…”

No, that’s not some random blog commenter chastising the Georgia coaching staff for failing to remind Josh Harvey-Clemons to bat a Hail Mary pass down at the end of the Auburn game.

It’s Howard Schnellenberger referring to the end of another Auburn game.

In an interview with WDRB in Louisville, retired coach Howard Schnellenberger said Chris Davis’ 109-yard, game-winning field goal return for a touchdown was “the greatest thing in the world” to happen to Alabama coach Nick Saban because “he needed a big serving of humility.”

“He’s been Mr. Perfect. He’s been Mr. Arrogant,” Schnellenberger said in an interview with WDRB’s Rick Bozich. “There’s no reason for that. Every coach all the way down to Little League knows that you cover that field goal.”

I actually think that’s something Richt would have done under similar circumstances, but no matter.  The real point is that no coach is always perfect under pressure.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

24 responses to ““There’s no reason for that. Every coach all the way down to Little League knows that…”

  1. JasonC

    Didn’t LSU return one earlier in the season?

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    I blame all 42 of Bama’s special assistant athletic special counselors.

  3. TomReagan

    I’m glad football people are finally starting to point this out. The strange thing has been how the sportswriters, who will hammer an offensive coordinator — when they have no idea whether the play calling was actually sound or not — and will totally give Alabama a pass on something like this that is entirely basic and is ABC football.

  4. Macallanlover

    No one is denying that Saban is a sound, fundamental coach but he has had as many errors with special teams situations, play calls, and clock management situations as any other coach I have seen the past two years. Coaches aren’t responsible for many of the execution issues, but they get blamed by some fans who feel they have to put blame on someone (it is an American thangy these days).

    The mistakes that allowed The aU to win on those two plays against UGA and Bama were made on the field and were errors by players, not coaches. To paraphrase Schnellenberger, players have been taught to knock passes down and tackle runners since they were in Little League. The only smart/dumb thing that can be attributed directly to a coach on those two plays was putting a kick returner back deep to attempt a return if the kick was short.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Exactly. If you haven’t heard a whistle blow and you see a guy running, tackle him.

    • TomReagan

      “To paraphrase Schnellenberger, players have been taught to knock passes down and tackle runners since they were in Little League.”

      “The only smart/dumb thing that can be attributed directly to a coach on those two plays was putting a kick returner back deep to attempt a return if the kick was short.”

      I totally disagree, and Schnellenberger would too. Putting a returner back deep isn’t smart… it’s what every coach at any level should do. It is basic football. The converse of that is that when you don’t have your guys covering the kick…. it is dumb.

      There’s a big difference in not knocking the ball down and in not covering a kick. The ball thing is something that may happen on the play and is a reaction that a player has to make as the play comes to him while covering a kick is automatic in that situation, just like on punt coverage–which is basically what field goals that don’t make it through the end zone turn into. Those boys were standing there with their fingers up their butts watching the ball fly when they should’ve been covering the kick… and it’s the coaches’ job to make sure they know that the thing can be run back and that they cover it.

    • Lynch not covering up the ball that he thought was a forward pass? resulting in a fumble call comes to mind. I’m sure he was taught to cover those up.

    • Rock and Roll Rebel

      I agree that this was a coaching derp. BUT IMHO, the lapse was in going for the field goal to begin with. He could have played for OT, which is a much more fundamental call to make. Ask Brady Hoke.
      Also, I TOTALLY agree with Schnellenberger. Saban was way overdue for a dose of humility. Too bad it probably won’t work…

      • TomReagan

        Whether or not you kick the field goal is a judgment call… whether or not you cover is basic coaching

        Everyone makes bad judgment calls, but this is literally a fundamental mistake… how would you look at it if his punt team just watched a punt until the return man started running it back?

      • Erskine

        It was all very situational. Field goal units are not designed/filled with players built to chase or make tackles. The situation was very special in that there was a large amount of field to defend. The isolated events of missing the kick and it being short in the field of play had to occur. The natural reaction of the linemen was to watch the ball, unfortunately, their reaction was much to slow, and they were quickly out of position. Even if the coach reminded the players of the possibility of a return, the players on the field are still responsible for post snap action.
        With all the stirring since the Iron Bowl, I still find it incredible that this type of play HAS to happen to beat al. If the barners have to relying on similar events to take place in the next 20 years for victory, don’t get your hopes up just enjoy the moment.

      • Hackerdog

        I think playing for the win is a legitimate strategy. Playing for overtime is something for a team with a good kicker and momentum to do. Alabama had neither at the end of the game.

  5. Swanguard

    You have to blame Saban because he gets all the credit for everything that is coached at Alabama.Don’t know why he even has assistants.

  6. lostdawg3

    Sure CMR would have tried a 57 yard FG….he has a kicker that can make that kick.

    A coach at the level of Nick Saban’s should know that he doesn’t have a kicker that can get it through from 60.

    I’m pretty sure us Dawgs would be 100% behind letting Morgan take a stab at winning a game from 57yards.

    • Macallanlover

      Saban believed he had that too, he said his kicker had 60 yard potential based on practices, and he had the wind. I don’t blame the choice, just didn’t get the result he wanted. Granted, it was a lesser probability based on the length. As for not covering the kick, I think it was more that the FG group simply didn’t have the talent to corral a talented returner than them not covering the kick return.

      • Macallanlover

        And you are right lostdawg, I would have been very upset if we hadn’t let Morgan attempt in that situation if it were in his range. Going into OT is very dangerous, see our MSU Bowl outcome, or TN’s fumble by Pig. Take a shot to win if you get it, I would put Morgan’s percentage of success in that situation at 40%+. Less for Bama because the kicker had a lesser resume, but still a decent call giving his reasoning of the kicker having the leg. We have all see that kicker’s leg from his Georgia HS days.

        • Griffith was 1 outta 2 on FGA. Long of 20. He missed a 30+ yard against Ga State. He has 5 XPA. Cade has hit 11 FG 73% with a long of 53 yards. I wonder if his choice had more to do with that first LSU game and those two missed FG vs Auburn than “Griffith had the leg”. Cade has hit the 60+ yard FG in practice too. Morgan has hit 18 FG 90% with a long of 56 . No one has kicked one longer. Seems like an awful lot to drop on a freshman kicker. Griffith at one time was coming to UGa.

  7. @gatriguy

    Saban’s strength is in program management, evaluating talent, personnel utilization, succession planning, etc. I’ve never thought he was a great in-game coach. No one will ever top Spurrier in that department.

  8. No One Knows You're a Dawg

    It bothered me that Saban passed off responsibility for what happened. In his post game press conference, in the space of two minutes, he: 1) blamed his long distance kicker (“He usually makes those in practice”); 2) blamed his field goal unit (“They should have covered the kick”; and 3) blamed his team overall (“They didn’t make plays when they needed to”).

    If ever there was a moment for a head coach to step up and take some of the heat off his players, this was it. That he didn’t says something about Nick Saban.

    Hey coach, you’re a 62 year old multi-millionaire and a first ballot HOF choice-you can afford to deflect the blame off your players. You put them in a position to fail by trying to cover a long-distance field goal with a kicker, a holder and bunch of 300 pound offensive lineman. Don’t turn around and blame them when they can’t catch up with a guy with 4.5 speed. Those young men are going to spend the rest of their lives thinking (and being thought of as) having cost Bama a shot a national title. No need to make it worse. And as for your team not making plays-your 2 national championships QB hit a 99 yard pass for a touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Don’t say they didn’t make plays.

  9. 69Dawg

    Channeling my inter-Munson “Ole Lady Luck” has decided that she will sleep with Auburn this year and I’d rather be lucky than good. Regression to the Mean or Karma will kick their asses someday.

  10. “The real point is that no coach is always perfect under pressure.” True but tell that to Bammer AMA even Georgia fans always going on with the “do you think Nick Saban would allow…..” rhetoric. Be it special teams, alcohol, drugs..whatever. He got out coached on special teams and did a PS poor job of clock management in last years SECC, too. Yes! His players also drink and smoke pot…much to the dismay of Dawg fans who like the taste of his nuts.

  11. AusDawg85

    Nicky should have called for the fake FG. If it works, it’s a historic call. Fail and you go into OT any way.