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How Much—if Any—blame Does Harbaugh Deserve for This Play?

+3 HS
Sonof'47alum's picture
August 6, 2020 at 2:19pm

Well, this play is always worth another look—precisely because it remains one of the most bizarre endings to any game I have seen in six decades of watching college football and it was a devastating loss for TTUN.

And I have always wondered: was this purely a blown play by the punter?  Or does the head coach deserve some blame here for a possible failure in mental execution once the play started to go off the rails.  In other words, should the punter not have tried to kick the ball—should he have simply tried to get control and fallen to the ground?  And would this be something that the coaching staff would have—or should have—spelled out to the punter either before the start of the play (during the previous timeout) or should it have been drilled into the punter’s head in practice?

Admittedly, I am biased; if there is any way to use this as another example of shoddy coaching by Harbaugh, I would love to.  But, not having played or coached football, I am curious as to the opinion of anyone who has or had that type of playing or coaching experience.  (And, I am asking this from my perspective as a former soccer player, where obviously there are no timeouts, there’s minimal or no coaching from the sidelines, and, in essence, all possibilities are worked on in practice.)

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