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Start Over @ Punter

The Big Red Lebowski

A:Always, B: Be, C: Cornhusking
10 Year Member
Thanks, I understood the versatility of the deception the first time... & just to clarify when I said "right" - i meant the same side to which our coverage team had been instructed our directional punter was to aim for - kind of the perfect storm of play calls.

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Thinking more about this devious Els deceptive fair catch play this afternoon ... not whining, but in the future, should such a disingenuous fair catch signal be viable? seems to undermine the whole intent - just saying.

It probably would have been wise to call timeout when it was known that MSU had a guy split wide on the left side of the field. If Michigan State's coaching staff was able to identify that our punter's miss is left, and our own coaching staff should be aware of the same tendency.

Whether that should be legal is a fair question. I think yes, because even though it's not in the spirit of why the fair catch rule exists, a little schoolyard trickeration makes the game more fun to watch.
 

Redleg

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
I suppose we'll all see punt return through the lens in which we view the team/coaches. If you are a fire Frost guy, it was a coaching blunder and sheer genius by Els. If not, it was a punter not punting where he was told to.

I don't think it would have worked if Cerni had punted to the correct side. The other guy could have been waving his arms all over the place, but our players were running to where the ball was supposed to be.
 
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coherbie

Booster of Substance
20 Year Member
Sure - like I said in the game thread, always been a fan of Dual returners. Heck - fake fair catch all the time on punts & KOR to bait even a few coverage folks the wrong direction seems like an advantage ... it's on like donkey kong. :Woohoo2: :Biggrin:

Question though, if that does occur, what if the second guy genuinely does need to call a fair catch - can multiple players call fair catch?
 
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KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
I suppose we'll all see punt return through the lens in which we view the team/coaches. If you are a fire Frost guy, it was a coaching blunder and sheer genius by Els. If not, it was a punter not punting where he was told to.

I don't think it would have worked if Cerni had punted to the correct side. The other guy could have been waving his arms all over the place, but our players were running to where the ball was supposed to be.
Did he make an actual fair catch signal? There is a particular way the return man has to wave his hand/arm; anything else is not a valid fair catch signal.

It sounds more like part of a deception to make the the punt coverage believe the ball was going to the right. All the MSU players were going to the right side of the field like they were going to block for the return. We just followed them. The biggest bone head thing since the "fake" punt by Illinois.
 

KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
Smart play coach Els - kudos... seems lethal at any time.

FWIW - Els duties also include coaching the Sparty LBs

gotta say though, if the ball is truly punted to the right, as called, it's likely a moot point. In our punter's defense, perhaps in Australia right is left & vice versa - doesn't the water go down the drain the opposite way there? :Biggrin:
Yeah, and Frost was complaining that he didn't want to take our outside LB coach away from his duties to do special teams. And back in the day, Dan Young did special teams as well as assisting Milt T on the O-Line coaching.
 

NewYorksker

Soothsayer
5 Year Member
Thanks, I understood the versatility of the deception the first time... & just to clarify when I said "right" - i meant the same side to which our coverage team had been instructed our directional punter was to aim for - kind of the perfect storm of play calls.

---
Thinking more about this devious Els deceptive fair catch play this afternoon ... not whining, but in the future, should such a disingenuous fair catch signal be viable? seems to undermine the whole intent - just saying.
No Advance ARTICLE 2. No Team B player shall carry a caught or recovered ball more than two steps in any direction after any Team B player gives a valid or invalid fair catch signal (A.R. 6-5-2-I-III). PENALTY—Dead-ball foul. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S7 and S21].
 

The Big Red Lebowski

A:Always, B: Be, C: Cornhusking
10 Year Member
Did he make an actual fair catch signal? There is a particular way the return man has to wave his hand/arm; anything else is not a valid fair catch signal.

It sounds more like part of a deception to make the the punt coverage believe the ball was going to the right. All the MSU players were going to the right side of the field like they were going to block for the return. We just followed them. The biggest bone head thing since the "fake" punt by Illinois.

I haven't been able to find a shot with Nailor in it when the ball is punted but the play was described thusly by Michigan Live:

"The play involved two return men: Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor. When the ball was punted, Nailor waved his hand and every Michigan State player suddenly ran in his direction as if he was about to catch the ball. Nebraska’s players followed suit."

Sounds like Nailor motioned in some way for the defense to move vs. signaling a fair catch, which apparently is a penalty if he did. To your point, the primary deception is the coverage team moving toward their left hash. Nailor did a nice job of tracking an invisible ball too.
 

KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
I haven't been able to find a shot with Nailor in it when the ball is punted but the play was described thusly by Michigan Live:

"The play involved two return men: Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor. When the ball was punted, Nailor waved his hand and every Michigan State player suddenly ran in his direction as if he was about to catch the ball. Nebraska’s players followed suit."

Sounds like Nailor motioned in some way for the defense to move vs. signaling a fair catch, which apparently is a penalty if he did. To your point, the primary deception is the coverage team moving toward their left hash. Nailor did a nice job of tracking an invisible ball too.
That is how I read it, too. Return teams have some forms of calls and signaling that differ from a fair catch signal. People were complaining the prior week that CTB (apparently) didn't warn his blockers that the kick was short and they backed into him. Often wave off or call off is used. IIRC, the Fair Catch the return man has to wave from side to side. There is a penalty for an improper signal. But is there against a sort of early sign or action that indicates where the ball appears to be coming? I think those are common.

So our players were basically were following the MSU players. No one noticed that the ball was going a different direction. You'd think we'd have a call if it was going a different direction than planned. Kind of like calling out fumbles, etc.
 

KleinTxHusker

All Legend
15 Year Member
I went back and watched the punt return. The MSU player in no way made anything that would resemble a "fair catch" signal. He did make a motion with his hands that were below his shoulders. It looked to me like it may have been a clap to his left side.

The MSU returner did a very good job of acting like the ball was coming. He was still looking in the air when the return guy caught it.

Helfrich immediately said it was a set up return and that putting two returners back was to try to bait a directional punter. Not sure exactly what he meant. Confuse the punter?

It isn't exactly like this is the first time two guys have been back to field punts. It used to be standard. Sometimes adjacent, sometimes a short and long returner. Hey, that might be an idea if we had anyone who could reliably catch a punt.

Heck, we couldn't reliably field the ensuing kickoff after MSU got penalized 15 yards on the kickoff. Johnson fumbled the ball when he caught it on the 13 and only got five yards on the return to the 18. We wound up worse off after the 15 yard penalty than if they'd have just kicked it into the end zone.
 
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RedRum

Blackshirt
10 Year Member
Get every student out of their dorm this morning, line 'em up, and make 'em kick. Find the top 10 and drag their asses over to the stadium and find the most consistent one.

If they refuse tell them the last 3 classes they need to graduate will always be scheduled at 7:30 am.
Remember when something similar worked for Mike Leach?

During halftime of Tech's September 20, 2008, football game against the University of Massachusetts, Williams entered a promotional contest in which he made a 30-yard field goal. He caught the attention of head coach Mike Leach, who liked the fundamentals he used on the kick. Leach wanted him on the team, and although it was initially thought he would not be immediately eligible, the NCAA granted a one-time exception based on the specific circumstances.

Williams made his debut in a 63–21 win over Kansas where he was a perfect 9 for 9 on PATs.[6] Following the game, Williams was recognized as the AT&T ESPN All-America Player of the Week.[7]

The following week, in Texas Tech's 39–33 victory over Texas, Williams was also asked to kick field goals, making two and having one blocked.
[8]
 
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